I was driving around today thinking about blogs and forums and how you need to be careful about colloquialisms and the thought hit me to see if the web knows about “sucked a kumara“. Seems Google does, there are 7 pages listed with the phrase. Will this make it 8?
I wonder what the history of the saying is, given that Kumaras are never actually sucked!
At a Maori funeral (New Zealand) the tupapaku (body of the deceased person) is placed in an open coffin during the tangi (funeral rites). A kumara (Maori sweet potato) was often placed in the mouth of the deceased person to hold their cheeks out so they looked more natural – hence ‘sucked a kumara’ came to be used colloquially for ‘died’…
Thanks Ralph, I didn’t know that 🙂