Saying grace, a common practice in Christian households, (I've been informed this is potentially an Americanism, but the travel budget for this piece was limited and I didn't get a chance to do a full global survey, so please excuse my bias.) involves offering up a (usually) short prayer to God before the start of a meal. Heck, it could be a common practice in non-Christian households as well, but that's outside my realm of experience.
This is usually done before the evening meal (call it what you want: dinner, supper, meal #3, whatever) though can be done at other meals as well. Usually only done in the setting of a home, though some, especially my father, have a predilection towards saying grace at restaurants as well. Whether this is done out of devotion to God or just to embarrass the children is unknown, though signs point to the former.
Serves two purposes:
Variations upon the theme
involve the dining participants
holding hands during the prayer, or having each person at the table adding their own contribution to the prayer. Usually it is done simply with hands folded and heads bowed
, with the head of the household or another random
person at the table solely responsible for the prayer
. Families may have a special prayer that they use at all times, or on special occasions. Adult prayers tend to be somewhat long winded
while those given by children tend to be short
, with occasional humorous undertones
In my youth I always wanted to get through saying grace as quickly as possible as I saw it as an unnecessary hurdle to eating. So, I had my own specialized prayer that was simple, to the point and fast:
Thank you for this food.
This generally came out as all one word and accompanied by moving a bite of food towards my mouth:
As my exgirlfriend was decidedly anti-religion and I'm quite the lazy agnostic these days, we didn't say grace before meals. However, sometimes when I'm feeling saucy, I have been known, on occasion, to say grace, not to God, but to whomever prepared the meal.
Dear Meal Preparation Type Person (or sometimes just Dear Me), thank you for this wonderful tasty-delish food. Amen!