What is “Itadakimasu”?

Before we eat, we say “Itadakimasu” with our hands put together. Why do we do this, and what does it mean? “Itadakimasu” expresses appreciation for several things:

• Appreciation for the person who made the meal
• Appreciation for the life we took to sustain our own lives
• Appreciation for deities who provide food and products to us

In Shinto, we believe everything has a spirit, including plants and animals. However, many other spirits make our meals possible as well. These include the spirits of nature, the sun, wind, and water. Without the sun and water, we can’t have plants. Without wind, we can’t have harvests. Without fire, we can’t cook. And to make fire, we need wood and natural resources…

When we say “Itadakimasu”, we appreciate and respect all of these things.

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