Greeting during meals
Before eating meals, Japanese people join their hands in front of their chest and greet by saying, “I-ta-da-ki-ma-su.”
After finishing a meal, the body form is the same, but the greeting is “Go-chi-so-sa-ma.”
When praying to a god or an ancestor, Japanese people also hold their hands in prayer to show respect and to join their own mind and body. Some people don’t join their hands and only speak the greetings. Japanese people naturally say these greetings as part of day-to-day manners.
“Itadaku” is a word to indicate modesty for taking and eating. Its origin comes from the Japanese Kanji character, “頂,” which means “top of the head” and refers to the body position (kneeling down, head bowed, arms extended upward) when receiving something from a higher-ranking person. “Itadaku is also thought of as, ‘Thank you very much for giving up your life in order for me to live my life. The word “Itadakimasu” also shows thanks to the person(s) who have prepared a meal to be eaten.
Gochisosama is written in the Japanese Kanji characters as, 御馳走様. ‘Chiso’ implies the act of running. It comes from times before the invention of the refrigerator when people had to obtain ingredients from many places in order to prepare a meal. The ‘go’ part adds formality to the word and is used for more respect. “Gochiso” means a feastful and luxurious meal. “Sama” is a respectful suffix that’s added after person’s name. Adding “sama” shows respect and thanks to the person(s) who prepared the meal. All parts together forming the word “Gochisosama.”