δεῖπνον (Mr 6:21; Lu 14:12,16; Joh 12:2, etc.; sometimes rendered "feast"), a word used indifferently in the Homeric age for the early or the late meal, its special meaning being the principal meal. In later times, however, the term was applied exclusively to the late meal the δόρπον of the Homeric age. It was the chief meal of the Jews, and also of the Greeks and Romans, being taken towards or at evening, after the labors of the day were over (Mt 23:6; Mr 12:39; Lu 20:46). In the New Testament, it is also specially spoken of the paschal supper (Joh 10:3,2; Joh 4:21,20), and of the Lord's supper (1Co 11:20); and of any meal (ver. 21); metaphorically of a marriage-feast, as figurative of the Messiah's kingdom (Re 19:9); and of heaps of the slain as a feast for birds of prey (ver. 17). SEE SUP.
A modern Oriental supper-party is thus described by Lamartine "Our apartments consisted of a pretty court, decorated with Arabic pilasters, and with a spouting fountain in the center falling into a large marble basin; round this court were three rooms and a divan, that is to say, a chamber larger than the others, formed by an arcade, which opened on the inner court, and which had neither door nor shutters to close it. It is a place of transition between the house and the street, serving as a garden to the lazy Mussulmans, its motionless shade supplying for them that of the trees, which they have neither the industry to plant nor energy to go and seek where nature herself causes them to grow. Our rooms, even in this magnificent palace, would have appeared ruinous to the poorest hut of our peasants; the windows had no glass, an unknown luxury in the East, notwithstanding the rigor of winter in these mountains; no beds, tables, or chairs; nothing but the, naked walls, moldering and riddled with rat and lizard holes; and as a floor, the beaten clay, uneven, and mixed with chopped straw. Slaves brought mats of rush, which they stretched upon this floor, and Damascus carpets, with which they covered the mats; they afterwards brought a small table of Bethlehem manufacture, made of wood, encrusted with mother-of-pearl. These tables are not half a foot either in diameter or in height; they resemble the trunk of a broken column, and are not capable of holding more than the tray on which the Mohammedans place the five or six dishes, which compose their repasts.
Our dinner, which was served on this table, consisted of a pilau, of a dish of sour milk mixed with oil, and certain gourds like our cucumbers, stuffed with hashed mutton and boiled rice. This is, in fact, the most desirable and savory food, which one can eat in, the East. No knives, spoons, or forks; they eat with the hands but the repeated ablutions render this custom less revolting for the Mussulmans. SEE EATING.