Spoons at one time given in Holland at marriages, christenings, and funerals. They may still be picked up occasionally at curiosity shops. The spoon at weddings was given to some immediate relative of the bride, and just below the monkey on the handle was a heart. At funerals the spoon was given to the officiating clergyman. Among the Dutch, drinking is called “sucking the monkey” (zuiging de monky), and one fond of drink was called “a monkey sucker.” The Dutchman began the day with an appetiser—i.e. rum, with a pinch of salt, served in a monkey spoon (monky lépel); and these appetisers were freely used at weddings, christenings, and funerals.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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