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Community Food Gathering - Saraca

Updated: Jul 24

One of the most popular examples of community food gatherings in Grenada is Saraca. Saraca is practiced in the parishes of St. Andrew, St. Patrick and Carriacou and Petit Martinique. The villages of La Poterie in St. Andrew's and River Sallee in St. Patrick's are examples of villages where Saraca is practiced.

Saraka Grenada

Origin

The practice of community based food gathering is rooted in our West African tradition. Even in present day, food prepared at the community level and distributed among community members is evident in West African countries, the homeland of our ancestors. Typically, the food is grown and the animals are reared right within the community by village members.


Foods eaten

Examples of foods which are prepared and eaten include:

  • Pork

  • Chicken (Yard Fowl) - Yard fowl is the local name for chicken grown in the backyard or yard of a family home.

  • Mutton

  • Beef

  • Rolled Rice

  • Ground provisions - sweet potato, yam, cassava, tania

  • Cou-cou

  • Dumplings

  • Peas soup - this is a featured dish.

  • Crab and Callaloo dish


Preparation

Food is prepared by village members. The food is prepared outside in an open area. Coal pots and firesides are used to cook the food. Men and women have a role to play in the food preparation. Usually, men slaughters the animals and prepare the meat. Women focus on prepare foods such as rice, dumplings, and ground provisions.


The day before the food preparation is harvest day in which food grown by villagers are harvested such as ground provisions, green peas etc.


Source: Grenada Broadcasting Network


Sharing of food

Food can be shared among community members in several ways:

  1. Food is laid on fig leaves. village members engage in communal eating on the fig leaves.

  2. Food is eaten in calabash bowls.

  3. Food is served on plates which is modern way of sharing food.

Food is shared in a pattern. Food is shared to children and elders first. This is followed by the cooks and visitors.


Activities done during Saraca:

  • Singing - Songs are sung before the food is eaten

  • Drum beating - drum beating provides music for the dancing

  • Dancing - traditional forms of dancing occurs.

  • Tamboo bamboo - this is a musical instrument from bamboo.


Source of information: Folk traditions Carriacou and Petit Martinique by Christine David.


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