Throughout the book, Dracula is never seen to eat or drink. As a vampire, he does not consume normal food but instead drinks human blood. This is one aspect of vampire mythology that is shared across all vampire stories, though authorities differ as to whether a vampire can eat human food ‘for show’ so as not to arouse suspicion.
The importance of blood dates back to ancient times, when some societies believed that the life-force, strength and essence of a person existed in their blood. In many cultures, including ancient Greek and Roman society and some African tribes, blood was offered to the spirits of the dead in order to appease them. In the ancient Greek epic The Odyssey, the ghosts of the dead drink the blood offered to them by Odysseus, strengthening them and allowing them to talk to the hero. In ancient Rome, drinking a cup of gladiator’s blood was thought to be a cure for epilepsy.
Blood sacrifice formed an important part of Mayan religious ritual, and blood-drinking is also found in the mythology of the Hindu goddess Kali. In some cultures around the world it is believed that if a magician can obtain a sample of a person’s blood, he can control them or cast evil spells upon them. The Bible, too, has something to say about the importance of blood:
For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.
Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood.
And whatsoever man there be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, which hunteth and catcheth any beast or fowl that may be eaten; he shall even pour out the blood thereof, and cover it with dust.
This is why orthodox Jews will only eat kosher meat, which has been drained of blood.