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The Historical and Cultural Importance of Corn - Research Paper Example

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The Historical and Cultural Importance of Corn (Add (Add (Add Date) The Historical and Cultural Importance of Corn Corn, one of the most grown crops in the world is believed to have originated from America. Early Americans called corn as ‘mahiz’ when in other parts of world it was known as maize…
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The Historical and Cultural Importance of Corn
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Download file to see previous pages Though it is a grain, it is used as a vegetable. Evidence points out that it was in use by mayan and Aztec tribes almost 7000 years ago. The Native Americans fondly called it ‘mahiz’, which in their language meant ‘that sustain us’. Corn has a remarkable position in setting up a trade network in America there by changing the people from nomadic to agrarian societies. The native tribes helped the early European settlers with the technique of cultivating the corn there by saving much hungry stomach from starvation and death. The first governor of the Plymouth Colony, Governor William Bradford, said once "And sure it was God's good providence that we found this corn for we know not how else we should have done” (History of corn in America). Today, as the largest producer of corn in the world, America produces almost ten million bushels of world’s 23 bushels of crop. And the estimated corn production for the 2010-2011 was 12.5 billion bushels (US Corn Production). According to the National Corn Association, eighty percentage of corn produced in America is consumed by domestic and overseas livestock, poultry farms, and fish farms. It is used for industrial uses like manufacturing nylon fibers, ethanol, and degradable plastics. It is also a main component in baby food, mush, puddings, and many more dishes because of its nutritional values (Major crops grown in the United States). Unlike any other crop, corn has its own cultural significance in the American society. Thanks giving day in the US is a festival held before and after the harvest cycles to thank God for giving good harvest, and to remember their voyage from Europe to America. Thus corn has become a popular symbol of thanks giving in the US culture. Corn in variety colors – red, white, blue and yellow is used for decorating dining tables. As Sempel (2010) points out, corn reminds the importance and heritage of the famous harvest festival in 1621 in Plymouth. There are many events like tractor pulls, historical exhibits and square dancing during the corn festivals. People celebrate it by engaging in contests like corn eating, water melon eating etc. Parades, carnivals and even games like sack races, hog calling are also held on that day. This extremely versatile plant is the integral part of Texan culture. For instance, “Texans used cobs for jug and bottle stoppers, smoking pipes, tool handles, corn shellers, back scratchers, torches, fishing floats, and, most importantly, firewood and meat-smoking fuel” (Corn culture). People living in Europe did not know about corn till America was discovered by the Great Sailor Columbus. In Europe, it was considered as a garden plant until it began to be considered as a valuable food crop. Now it is not only cultivated for food purpose but also as staple diets for farm animals. Products like regular corn on cob, popped kernels, and corn meals like corn bread, oil and even alcohol are made from corn. Europeans had played a vital role in making corn an important crop in the world. In olden days, a festival named corn-dolly was celebrated in Europe. A doll made with the ears of corn called corn-mother is carried home and then thoroughly drenched in water. Then it is kept in the barn along with flowers. It was Portuguese who introduced the corn culture in the African society. Agricultural practices such as swidden cultivation and the processing of the corn cobs increased the need of female ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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