March 2019: Many think of Groundhog Day as a ritual that determines the coming of warmer weather. However, for the Cherokee Indians, it’s harvesting wild onions that signifies the rites of spring.
The Indian Women’s Pocahontas Club welcomes you to celebrate the tradition with a Wild Onion Feast to be held March 23 at the First United Methodist Church in Claremore from noon until 2 p.m.
The tradition started many years ago when tribes were forced from their homelands in the Southeastern part of the country to Indian Territory. After long, cold winters, people were ready to find fresh food to sustain them. Since that time, wild onions have been a symbol of spring. Ollie Starr, who helps plan the event, explains, “The wild onion feast brought families and friends together for fellowship along with the opportunity to celebrate our heritage.” Now in its 120th year, The Indian Women’s Pocahontas Club welcomes others to share in their tradition.
While the money raised from the event helps provide scholarships, it’s the delicious food that keeps this custom as a popular way to celebrate the end of winter. The wild onions are prepared with scrambled eggs and served with ham, salt pork, beans, hominy, fry bread and grape dumplings. The sit-down meal is also served with various beverages, as well as the customary sassafras tea.
Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online through www.IndianWPC.org or by contacting Ollie Starr at 918-760-7499 or Vicki Baker at 918-798-0771. Sponsorships, which include a table, are also available.
Besides learning about the rich history and dining delicious indigenous food, there will be a live auction as well as a raffle.
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