In Africa, the deities and spirits are often honored through the sacrifice of animals.

After the ceremony, would the animals be eaten by people? I know that in Asia, some people would eat the animal that was used in a ceremony. It is hard to believe that people won't eat the animal especially if the region is suffered from famine. Are there any reliable sources for this practice?

I am not sure this is the correct subforum but I cannot find an "Africa stack exchange", "culture StackExchange", or "religion stack exchange". If you believe that this question should be transferred to another more appropriate subforum, I am more than happy to know about the name of that subforum.

  • Hello and welcome. I can't see that your question belongs to philosophy as understood on this site, I'm afraid; and I can't find social anthropology or sociology, to which it might be suited. I suggest you try psychology, not because I think the question definitely falls within its province but because it strikes me as a likely source of help. – Geoffrey Thomas Dec 26 '19 at 20:00
  • What do you think Christian communion is? – Swami Vishwananda Dec 28 '19 at 9:47

As a general rule, sacrificial offerings are meant to be 'food' for the divinity: not because the divinity needs to eat, per se, but because the religious community wants to include the divinity in the communal practice of sharing meals. The intent is to bind the community and the divinity together as a kind of family. With that in mind, people do not generally eat the food reserved for the divinity, any more than we would offer a steak to a respected family member and then sit down and eat it ourselves. It's the height of rudeness.

Most primitive cultures have ways around making the sacrifice too costly. For instance, they may do as the ancient Hebrews did and reserve a select cut of meat for the divinity, and consume the rest of the animal for themselves. Other cultures might prepare and offer the meat to the divinity, but then distribute it as charity. Still others might use the meat from offerings as part of the subsistence of monks, priests, or members of religious orders. Ancient societies were not inclined towards wasting food, but at the same time they felt it was important to maintain a close bond with the divinity. If you think of it more as an offering than a sacrifice, the system makes more sense.

  • I haven't down-voted the question, and I have upvoted your answer because I think it may well help the questioner, but I am going to close the question because PSE isn't the right site for it. – Geoffrey Thomas Dec 27 '19 at 6:59
  • @GeoffreyThomas — Well, I think the question validly falls under theology, which is a form of philosophy, but I tend to take a more expansive view of these things than most. No worries... – Ted Wrigley Dec 27 '19 at 15:36
  • Theology, well yes, I just didn't think of it. Without justification I assumed the OP had been through all the sites concerned directly with religion. Best - GLT – Geoffrey Thomas Dec 28 '19 at 10:31

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