With April comes holidays along with the foods and traditions that shape them. Yet how can we celebrate together when we're so far apart? That's a good question with several answers.
Priya Krishna wrote extensively about this in today's New York Times Food section, Luckily we have Zoom and Skype so there can be virtual Seders, and Easter dinners along with Persian New Year and Ramadam. Rabbi Doug Kahn,a Reform rabbi in San Francisco is doing a virtual Seder this Passover with his wife Ellen. The group has been asked to email each other their favorite holiday recipes so they're all on the same page . The hardest part, however, is the afikoman , the piece of matzo that's usually hidden in the house for children to find.Rabbi Kahn will carry his computer through his house, going through each room. People have to guess where the piece is hidden. The same can be done for Easter, Families can have virtual brunches or dinners together. They can even make candy together as Marley Griggey of Cincinnati , Ohio is doing with her family members. This is a family tradition this graduate student will pass down to her own young children. Her husband, Phill, who works overnight at Target, also helps in getting the traditional ham and eggs both hard to get right now both for cooking and dying.
The Persian New Year or Nowruz is also very big. It is a time when there ceremonial dishes to be cooked and shared. It's in full swing right now , starting on March 19th. It's a thirteen day celebration where people throw parties and set up haft-sins. This is a collection of seven items like garlic and vinegar that symbolize hope for the new year along with dishes such as sabzi polo ba mahi, fish with herbed rice. Katayoun Kishi, an Iranian living in Atlanta had to pare down her festivities. Her haft sin had to be cut down because of shortages and there were no sweets because the bakeries were shut down. As for Ramadam, many of the dinners have been cancelled. Hassan Chami, a Detroit pharmacist and owner of the restaurant Terry Melt,usually runs the Ramadam Food Festival, an event where there are forty vendors including himself. It's where the city's sizable Muslim population communally breaks their fast. The vent has to be cancelled but the money he donated is going to local hospitals to buy much needed supplies. along with giving free food away to hospital workers.
This year follow these examples to make the best of your holidays and holy days. It will be different but still celebratory. Make it a tasty one , still full of good memories.