What is a Dumb Supper?
A dumb supper is a meal for friends, and relatives -loved ones that have passed, that is silent. Think of monks or nuns that have made a vow of silence, there is no sound from the TV in the background or music either.
You may have heard of dumb suppers near Halloween this is because a lot of pagans practice this ritual on All Hallows’ Eve (Halloween) to honor their dead. The dead means the people that have died, especially those that died in the last year. As I said we hear about dumb suppers a lot during Halloween season, but you can have a dumb supper any time you practice ancestral magic or want to honor/remember the dead. All Hollow’s Eve, Halloween, Samhain or any other name you use is a time when the veil between the living and the dead is easier to move through making ancestral veneration or any time of spirit work easier.
Dumb suppers have been around forever in some shape or form. A lot of cultures don’t practice the silent solemn part of this ritual though. It is important to remember that you will be celebrating the lives of loved ones that have crossed over to the other side. A dumb supper is just one way of doing that.
Alright so HOW do we have a dumb supper. If you’re short on time and want the fastest instructions. . . Here you go. Get some food for dinner or supper. Set your table -set places for the loved ones that have passed you want to think about. Serve ALL plates. Eat without making any noise. Clean up.
Okay, if that super basic and fast instruction wasn’t your thing let’s go a bit deeper. Let’s also enjoy this, we are celebrating after all.
Step 1. Your dumb supper should be held on October 31st. Will you be having your children or others join your meal? Can they stay quiet? Would it be a better idea to have a smaller meal where you are the only one there? Dumb suppers are quiet.
Step 2. Which loved ones do you want to share a meal with again? Write out a list, check it twice. You don’t have to invite everyone you have ever cared about, or everyone that passed in the last year. You can keep it intimate by just having one or two places for the dead. Maybe Grandma or Auntie Jo. The idea here is to feel like you’re connected with that person again.
Step 3. The people on your guest list. . . what were their favorite foods? What were their favorite drinks? This should be your menu.
Step 4. You can go all out and set your table like Christmas Dinner is happening. Fancy plates and silverware, champaign goblets, cloth napkins, place cards. Flowers, centerpieces, and candles sticks with tapered candles. Or you can go very everyday -plastic plates and cups, disposable forks, and paper towels.
My personal belief is you always need candles, and a glass or cup of water for each person you invited. Flowers are nice but not necessary.
Remember -what would they want?
Step 5. Serve each place. Sit quietly and eat in complete silence. You would eat slowly and think about the family and friends that are with you.
Once you’re done, you’d clean up as normal.
Doing A Dumb Supper
Let’s talk about setting your dumb supper up.
You can decorate however you want, as I mentioned you may want to take your guests favorite things into account. I’m going to be honest, the way I decorate depends on the year. I have pulled out the fancy dinnerware, I have purchased fancy dinnerware only for Ancestral working, I have also purchased and used Halloween themed disposable party ware
These really cool
placemats tie in the idea of spirit communication. I really like these what do you think?
How about this
candelabra wouldn’t it look beautiful? Add some dollar store candles and other odds and ends from your favorite stores.
Note, it is common for The Dead to be sat at the head of the table. Another common thing is to represent the deceased by placing things that they loved at their place at the table. I spread the deceased throughout the table, not just at the head.
I like to have some cinnamon essential oil burning in the background. I have found it’s easier for friendly spirits to be around when the house smells like baking.
What should you serve?
The easiest answer is what would they like?
Before we go into this one, we need to pause and make some decisions. Are you going to serve the dead food, then dispose of the uneaten food?
Some people have a really hard time with this. They say it’s wasting food and money.
Others are okay with serving food to the dead but then take the food outside for the birds, animals, and/or stray dogs to eat. They feel this isn’t wasting food or money.
Others, myself included, see offering the dead a plate or lots of plates of food as an offering and sacrifice that I freely give. There is no waste of food as the spirit of the dead has consumed the spirit of the food. There is no waste of money because the spirit of the dead has been fed. The food on the plate is usually buried.
Personally, I put it down the disposal or flush it. This upsets a lot of people, but the way I see it is. . . If the spirit was in human flesh the food would be digested and then ultimately flushed anyways. TMI? Sorry. But I want to really make a point with why I do it this way.
So, what are you going to serve. If you have decided, you are putting food on the plate for the dead guests. What would they have loved to eat if they were still alive? That is a great meal.
Another idea is keeping your menu all dark or black foods or fall themed foods. What do you want to serve? I’m going to be honest; I have served Pizza Delivery more times than I am prepared to admit. The few days leading up to All Hollow’s Eve, All Saint’s Day, and All Day are my busiest days and the dead understand this.
If you’re looking for ideas check out my Halloween Food Board on Pinterest.
Messages to the dead
I hear a lot about writing out a message to the dead guests you invited during your dumb supper, and then burning them. You can burn the messages some time during the meal or go outside after the meal and burn them.
I don’t follow this. I mentally and silently speak to the guests during the dinner. Anything that I need to let go of gets let go. Any memories I replay in my head with them.
If you decide to write out your messages and then burn them -that is some powerful symbolism to watch your message burn and the smoke lift into the air, any paper will do but it’s a great idea to add a few drops of cinnamon or
clove essential oil. Not only will it smell good but also has associations with Samhain and is great for ancestral work.
I hope you try a dumb supper at least once. It doesn’t have to be this year, but try it some time. You may find a ritual you really love.
Please be aware. This post contains affiliate links for your convenience which means we may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. It is common to share affiliate links. A few years ago the FTC got a wedgie about the whole process and now we have to tell you there are affiliate links and make you read ALL the dry boring
Scroll down for a freebie.