yesterday was my grandfather’s 7th-seven… the 7th week/49th day after his passing. my mom sponsored a Sok at the Tibetan Buddhist temple (we’d been to one just two weeks ago, i think…) and she brought most of the food (people seem to bring anything: cake, cookies, crackers, cheese, ham, rice, lasagna, grapes, peanuts, etc.)…
A Sok, by my understanding and experience, consists of a whole lot of prayers and chanting (very rhythmic at times; also accompanied by a loud but pleasantly dull-sounding drum at parts) and various blessings.. food that has been brought by the Sok participators was laid out nicely on a table… one of the temple persons conducts prayers over them while we’re chanting in our seats with the prayer books.. then handfulls of food (crushed up) from each dish are gathered into a bowl and water is drizzled over it slowly until the dish contains a mountain of mushed food… maybe incense is placed on top now… at certain point in prayers, person takes dish outside and offers it there.
then you’re given some type of alcohol in your palm and you sip that and pat the rest over your head… and you take a pinch of this grainy/gamy thing they bring around, and you eat that.
also later, you take pinches of uncooked rice they have available, and you sprinkle a lil on your head. and then at specific points in one of the prayers, you toss it around you… which means there’s rice flying at everyone from different directions and that’s rather fun.
later, everyone is given a plate and a small piece from every dish is given to everyone… your plate ends up being quite a hodgepodge of different stuff… especially is there’s been a big turn out/lots of food. then you take a small bite of anything from your plate. and then a bowl comes around and you take something or a handful from your plate and put it into the bowl. that bowl gathers the “leftovers” from everyone and that gets offered out.
then after prayers are basically done, we all eat. don’t have to eat everything one your plate, but it is considered blessed food, so good to eat at least a little.