Monday, June 18, 2007

Pot latch extravaganza

Yesterday we hosted our third annual Potlatch party and had a ball. Sadly I have no photos so a description of the process will have to do. The term comes from a native American tradition - here's a blurb I've pinched from Wikipedia:

The potlatch was a cultural practice much studied by ethnographers. "Potlatch is a festive event within a regional exchange system among tribes of the North pacific Coast of North America, including the Salish and Kwakiutl of Washington and British Columbia." Sponsors of a potlatch give away many useful items such as food, blankets, worked ornamental mediums of exchange called "coppers", and many other various items. In return, they earned prestige. To give a potlatch enhanced one’s reputation and validated social rank, the rank and requisite potlatch being proportional, both for the host and for the recipients by the gifts exchanged. Prestige increased with the lavishness of the potlatch, the value of the goods given away in it.

In our mutated version people bring random clothes and small household items they would otherwise throw out or take to the op shop and dump them in a pile in our front room. Everyone goes through the pile of stuff and takes away bits and pieces they like. The rest of the stuff gets taken to the Salvos or Vinnies at the end of the day. It's a great way to recycle and have a party at the same time. This year's effort was a little smaller that previous year's but I managed to score a blue velvet jacket, some red cord trousers and multiple pairs of sunglasses while feeling virtuous that I was offloading more unnecessary stuff than I was gaining.

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