Thanks for this – so easy to take it all for granted! It also reminded me of an African tradition that my dad adopted when we lived in South Africa. In Africa it is traditional to hold ancestors in high regard. So at meal time, you never completely empty the pot, empty your plate or even empty your cup, and whatever is remaining, as you leave it, you say, ‘for the ancestors’. When I was a little girl, I remember always finishing my dad’s tea or coke, and now that I have a little girl, I’ve realised that I automatically never finish the last sip of my drinks, that she finishes it for me – although I don’t commit it to the ancestors!
I was curious to learn more, so I wrote back to Frances:
I wonder if there was any significance in the children finishing the drink or if it’s just because it was there? It makes me think of the Day of the Dead where people put out food for relations who have passed on.
Fascinating parallels! Interesting comment about children finishing drinks – although the practical reason for me and my little one finishing drinks was that the last drops of the tea were cold enough for a child to drink. Not sure if I mentioned originally, but traditionally, the remainder of the drink is thrown to the ground – not something my dad did as the floors would have been a mess!
Thanks for sharing this tradition Frances! If anyone would like to share any other ancestral traditions, feel free to in the comments below.
This article was posted on Friday, February 12th, 2010 at 3:15 pm and is filed under African Customs, Ancestor Customs, Countries & Cultures, Customs and Traditions, Domestic Life, Mama Lisa, South Africa. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
3 Responses to “African Custom “For the Ancestors””
Leave a Reply