In the first ever episode of Promise Neverland, we see poor little Conny get taken away and murdered by the Demons from beyond Grace Field House. When Emma and Norman are hiding underneath the truck that contains her corpse, they overhear the Demons talking about wanting to eat Conny’s remains.
During that conversation, the Demons mentioned something called ‘Gupna’ that is not mentioned again for the rest of the series as Emma, Norman and Rei plan their escape from Grace Field House.
So what is Gupna?
We are going to be answering that question but be warned – there are spoilers ahead from the later seasons of The Promised Neverland and it’s manga. So if you are not caught up yet and you don’t want the rest of The Promised Neverland spoiled for you, please come back once you have completed the series.
Still here? Then let’s take a closer look at Gupna in The Promised Neverland.
What Is Gupna?
Gupna is later revealed in The Promised Neverland to not be an object or thing – instead, it is a ritual used by the Demons.
In Season 2 Episode 2, we see Emma go hunting in the Demon Forest with a Demon called Sonju, who is a part of a religion known as the Heathens who restrain themselves from consuming human flesh.
After befriending Emma and offering to help her, they go into the forest to hunt for meat for Emma and the rest of the escapees from Grace Field House.
Emma manages to shoot down a bird and mentions that the bird is warm and still alive. Sonju then gives Emma a flower. The flower is long, with pale leaves and white closed up buds. He tells her that it is time for Gupna.
Gupna is a ritual that can be used by Demons and Humans alike to dedicate their food for the gods. When their prey is still warm and live yet on the verge of dying, the hunter is supposed to pierce a Vida flower into the prey’s heart.
The Vida flower will then bloom with red flowers as it saps the blood and life from the prey.
Sonju explains that this ritual will not work unless it is done with respect . It is supposed to show gratitude to the gods and dedicate a part of the meal to them. The Demons believe that if the gods do not accept the sacrifice, then they cannot eat the meal.
The Vida Flower And Its Importance
Viewers have been aware of the Vida flower from the very start of The Promised Neverland but have never known it’s true meaning.
This red flower is visible in both the opening and ending sequences so it appears in every single episode.
Emma and Norman also first saw the flower pierced in Conny’s heart when they found her corpse in the back of the truck, and Norman later has a nightmare where all his adoptive siblings at Grace Field House are all lying dead on the floor, each with a Vida flower sprouting from their heart.
The Vida flower, once bloomed, is very close in appearance to our real-life geranium. In The Promised Neverland, it is described as a vampiric flower that drains the life away from those it penetrates.
Draining the host’s life away is what allows the Vida flower to bloom – hence why it is called the Vida flower as ‘vida’ means life in Spanish.
This makes the Vida flower an important symbol in The Promised Neverland. It signifies death and the constant threat hanging over Emma and the other Human children as their original fate was to end with a Vida flower pierced into their own hearts.
This is why when Emma first sees the Vida flower given to her by Sonju, she is disgusted as it reminds her of Conny and all the other siblings she has lost to the Demons.
Why Is Gupna So Important?
Gupna is an important ritual within the world of The Promised Neverland for two reasons.
The first is that it is a religious ritual related to sacrifice that is followed by the Demons. They believe that by piercing the Vida flower into their prey’s heart, they are showing respect to their gods, dedicating the meal to them, and asking their permission to eat.
If the Vida flower does not bloom, the Demon cannot eat the meal as it has been rejected by their god.
This is why when Emma stabs the bird with the flower, it does not bloom. Sonju tells her that Gupna must be done with respect otherwise the flower won’t bloom and they cannot eat the meal. Emma and Sonju must then pray in order for the Vida flower to bloom.
Gupna also has a practical reason too – by drawing out the blood, the Vida flower helps preserve the meat of the prey for longer.
So, when Sonju and Emma go hunting, they perform the Gupna ritual so the meat lasts longer before rotting and can sustain the rest of the children for a longer period of time with just one kill.
The whole reason why Gupna is also included in The Promised Neverland as a story device is to help us (and the main characters by proxy) connect and sympathize more with the Demons.
The way the Demons perform the Gupna ritual before every meal is similar to how some people of certain faiths might thank their god for the meal before eating.
Whereas before, Demons were viewed as evil creatures who devoured Humans, they now had a link to Humans to show that they were not completely mindless.
This is further reflected through Sonju and how he tells Emma that none of her siblings suffered during their deaths as they would have died during the Gupna ritual.
It almost suggests that the Demons, despite breeding and raising Humans like cattle in order to be eaten, still respect the Humans and it is all part of a natural food chain.
The reason for Gupna in The Promised Neverland is to help both the main characters and us the audience realize that not all Demons are mindless, evil creatures.
They are complex beings with faith and compassion just like Humans, which connects to two and proves that there is something in common with both sides.
So – what is Gupna?
Gupna is a ritual used by Demons to show respect for their god. It consists of piercing a dying prey’s heart with a Vida flower, allowing it to bloom as a sign of acceptance from their god. Without it, the meal cannot be eaten and it is a waste.
It’s inclusion in The Promised Neverland is for it to act as a similar link between Humans and Demons, proving that the two are not as uncommon as we originally thought.