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Food Rituals at Funeral

By tadame_kuran Oct 10, 2013 386 Words
FOOD RITUALS AT FUNERALS
As an aspect of culture, food is a tool of socialization whether it is teaching cultural and socioeconomic mobility through table manners. The type of food we eat, how we prepare the ingredients to make a certain recipe and ultimately how we consume and share it, is very telling of the actual essence of who we are and where we are from. In China close family members must refrain from eating meat because their immortal gods do not eat meat. One reason is that meat has blood, and blood symbolizes uncleanliness. The exclusion of meat is also a respectful gesture of ‘down grading' the meals; that is, no fancy foods. Meat does not appear in family meals until the morning of the burial day. The family mourners diet is therefore vegetarian, and a common vegetarian dish is jai. Jai symbolizes purity, and by eating this vegetarian dish, family members keep their bodies clean. Whenever food is eaten by them, the same food is offered to the deceased. This customarily is a bowl of rice and vegetables including jai. By abstaining from meat and purifying their bodies and the spirit of the deceased with jai, the family is demonstrating their faith in the gods and helping to ensure their loved one has a safe journey to heaven and to eternity. Cultures vary remarkably when it comes to the ingredients, volume, variety, preparation and presentation of the food served at funerals and wakes. In North America alone there are many traditions: at Christian and secular funerals dainty finger food is served, visitors bring an overabundance of kosher food to the Jewish Shiva, in the South the mourners bring fried chicken and casseroles. Funeral meals may be restricted to purely vegetarian, or it may consist of the favourite dishes of the deceased. I think coffee and tea represent something in the society, because when you went to someone’s house they offered you coffee or tea just to sympathize, or to welcome you. For example in my country they give coffee and bread to welcome the person and to thank him/her for the visit. There are a lot of technologies that have been developed, for example blender, microwave, stove, freezer. They facilitated the preparation of the foods and they prepared it easily and faster.

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