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The Sharing of Bread and Water

At every gathering of Juxtalen, before the commencing of debate, as part of the commencement platters of bread and pitchers of water are circulated. For official events like the council meetings there will be a designated bearer for the bread and another for the water. Each person is expected to accept a piece of bread, which is always torn from the loaf, and enough water to consume it comfortably. Some tribes of Juxtalen will include a saltwell to dip the bread in as well, if that is a common commodity.   The bread is broken so that each recipient can see that there are no tools of war. The symbolism of cutting isn't present as these gatherings are to build communities, not sever ties. The loaf represents the tribe, and the tearing of the bread represents the loss to the tribe when a member leaves or is taken away by misfortune. It is an observation that each person has needs, and sometimes those needs hurt the tribe, but they don't have to destroy it. This also provides a moment of silence and reflection so each person can offer their thoughtful best, being present in the moment.   Water is given because on Odemark, water is life. Just as the bread is the tribe, the water is the life and breath. It is a faux pas to empty the pitcher, and can be seen as an ill omen. The Juxtalen are painfully aware how much water they need to survive. The sharing of water is a reminder that they share in the life of the tribe. When they share water, they are giving life to each other. Giving water between each other is also a sign of comaraderie and there is a saying "Let our waters mingle" which contains the idea of willfully sharing fate.   For those tribes that add salt, they see it as the strength and blood of the tribe. It represents more than mere survival, but the will to thrive under adversity. It represents the purpose of the individual working with others to overcome and move forwards. It brings with it a reminder that without the tribe, there is nothing. It is upon the individual to thrive and in so doing, carry the tribe along. Even tribes that do not normally add salt to the ceremony, often they will when small groups set off on a journey. Others may only add it for funerary rituals.

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