Feeding Gods, Feeding Guests: Sacrifice and Hospitality among the Gadaba of Highland Orissa (India)

Peter Berger*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The study of food in Indian tribal societies merits more attention than it has received. The example given here concerns the Gadaba of Highland Orissa (India), and particularly two contexts are compared: sacrifice and hospitality. Sacrificial commensality during annual festivals stresses agnatic relationships, unchanging hierarchical group relations, and strictly prescribes social action. Hospitality, by contrast, mainly involves affinal relations and highlights equivalence while also expressing temporary status difference. The hospitality situation leaves room for idiosyncratic behaviour and rivalry that are expressed in competitive feasting and force feeding. Hospitality also entails the notion of "shame" that is absent in sacrificial contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-47
Number of pages17
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • India
  • scheduled tribes
  • Gadaba
  • food
  • sacrifice
  • hospitality
  • FOOD
  • EAT

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