Pronounced "ee-tah-dah-ki-MAHS," this word is traditionally used to begin meals in Japan. It is somewhat akin to "let's eat" or "bon appétit." The term has an ancient origin and may have originated with Buddhists. It is supposed to mean "I receive" or "I humbly receive the gift of this food." This is an expression of thanks to everyone who contributed to making the meal, from the farmers to the cooks.
But it seems that "itadakimasu" may more literally translate as "I take your life." This refers to how animals and plants are sacrificed for our meals, and the term is an expression of gratitude for their sacrifice. Yet this meaning seems to have been largely forgotten, especially as people have become more and more removed from the source of their food. Maybe we need to return to those roots.
Let us step back and think more about the sources of our food. Let us consider where our meat, fruit and vegetables come from. This can lead to many different issues, from sustainability to factory farms. Too many of us are deaf, dumb and blind to the sources of our food. Let us open our senses and seek to educate ourselves.
I will soon be addressing some of these issues on my blog, especially as I have been reading several books dedicated to these matters. Won't you join me on my journey?