In the past, baskets were made primarily for utility and versatility. A few baskets were made for ceremonial purposes. Now, because of modern technology and the existence of better storage solutions, the primary reason for the making of baskets is symbolism or ceremony -- with a substantial portion being made for commercial ventures.
Some dances center on the use of baskets in their performance: women are given baskets to mark important events in their lives; eagles used to be buried in special baskets to commemorate their existence. Children were given small woven plaques by Kachina dancers when they were born. During wedding rituals, women still make baskets to give to the groom's family as repayment for the wedding robes woven by the groom's male family members. Upwards of a dozen, and usually more, baskets are exchanged during these festive times. Sometimes the amounts can get a bit outrageous -- filling entire rooms.
Photo by J. H. McGibbeny (From Tanner 1968)
Frank Provo -- email@example.com