SHARING CULTURES THROUGH HOLIDAYS & FOOD
It is nice to be aware of other people throughout the world and what better way to lelarn about them than to inform ourselves about their cultures than through Holidays and the food associated with them? Every culture in the world has their holidays and customs and food is almost always a part of them. A Holiday or Celebration occurs in almost every month of the year starting with January.
April starts out with a bang on April 1st – ‘April Fool’s Day’ which is not really a Holiday but a day to play harmless pranks on your friends or relatives. It seems that April Fools Day or All Fools Day is observed in many countries around the world and actually goes back to the 14th Century. At least as far as we know!
Another day which is not really a Holiday, but still creates nice thoughts is April 3rd, ‘Find A Rainbow Day’. Wouldn’t this be fun to observe with your children by creating pictures of rainbows or to make food rainbows using vegetables of different colors? This would be a good way to get your children to eat their veggies!
Passover or Pesach begins at sundown on April 6th. Passover is the observance of the Jews Exodus from slavery in Egypt. Because only unleavened bread was eaten during the exodus, Matzos, which is unleavened bread is the only breadstuff eaten during the 8 days of Passover. The Seder which is a meal which includes the reading of the Passover Story and traditional foods which include Matzos, Bitter Herbs, Gefilte Fish and so on. It sometimes takes a little ingenuity to figure out a variety of things to do over the eight days of Passover. To this effect, Matzo Brie or Fried Matzo which is similar to French Toast has always been a popular favorite. Another thing that is fun to do with Matzo is to dip it in chocolate and make it a confection. Matzo and chocolate as unlikey as it seems do really go well together.
Easter is April 8th and even though Easter Eggs and Easter Rabbits really have no relation to the original meaning of Easter, they are still items that Easter is celebrated with, especially for children. The Easter Egg and Easter Rabbit are symbols of Spring and probably go back to Pagan Days when Mother Earth was worshiped. All the Christian religions observe Easter as the Day of Christ’s Resurrection from the dead. Ham is a popular entrée for many Easter Dinners. Another popular items is to bake a break that actually has hard-cooked Eggs wound into the dough before it is baked.
Thursday, April 12, 2012 – Sunday, April 15, 2012. In Thailand, the New Year is celebrated as Songkran, also known as the Water Festival. There is a lot of celebrating done during this time and you have to to be careful if you do not want to get soaking wet as you walk down the street from the water guns that celebrants carry and use.
April 22nd is Earth Day and even though this should happen all year round, more attention is paid to what is happening to our planet. Recycling is encouraged and tree planting occurs. There are many more days in April, not all of them Holidays, but days with special meanings attached.
April 27th is Arbor Day and this day is usually observed with the planting of trees at various locations. It would probably be more advantageous to combine Arbor Day with Earth Day as similar events happen on each of these days.
There are many more holidays around the world in April; most of them are related to the country’s Independence or fallen heroes from past wars. For those who are interested in these days, just check out the internet or your local library and the information will be there.
We could go on and on with April Holidays, but most of us will mainly be interested in the days that relate to us or our culture. If your special day is not mentioned here, please let me know and I will include it next year.
In addition to the above Holidays there are many days that are dedicated to different things, such as National Cheese Day or National Pretzel Day. Almost every day in April is a National Food Day of some sort. For more information on these days keep watch on a daily basis for some interesting tidbits and recipes related to the Food Days.