Lenora - Easter/Passover Celebrations Around the World

lenora

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Hi Hufsamor....I'll begin with you since you still have young grandchildren. You're Norwegian as I recall. What are the traditions of Easter in your country today? If you happen to be Jewish, then let's hear about Passover. What do the adults do, what do the children do? It seems like a phantom world today so it would be nice to remember that there were holidays to celebrate and people did gather. (Even if we personally gave them up a few years ago.) Happy Easter to you....Yours Lenora.
 

lenora

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Judee....And what do you do even if you live in this country? We're so diverse that it's wonderful to know all the different traditions and how they came to arise. Happy Easter! Yours, Lenora
 

Judee

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Thank you for asking...

I remember my dad was excellent at holidays... at one time he worked in a big department store and did their holiday window displays so it carried over to our home somewhat. We would always decorate eggs in the evening staining our fingers different colors with him at the head of the table. He would write messages on the eggs like, "whoever finds this egg gets $2." We loved that.
In the morning after the egg hunt and Easter baskets, we went to mass and then came home to Easter dinner and more candy from the Easter basket.

When I got older we did that with my nieces at my sister's homes. It was so nice seeing tradition continued.

Unfortunately, with my mom and I being disabled we don't get out as much now but I do try to save enough energy to make at least one nice food for supper. Plus, there is always the feeling that it's a special holy day even if we can't do the same things we used to do. Same as today, Good Friday. It was nice to contemplate a sacrifice made for me that I did not deserve.

Hope you have a wonderful and peaceful holiday, @lenora. Hope you get to do at least one thing special.
 

lenora

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Judee, thanks for giving us your memories. I have many, all tossed together like a salad, I guess.

I was raised in two religions, Catholic (my mother) and Methodist (my grandparents). As a result I have no time for prejudice of any sort as all religions mean the same to me....honoring God and my fellow human beings and, especially, taking care of my brothers and sisters.

Ah yes, the egg dying. How could that always be so messy? There were never enough cups or small bowls to cover the eggs...remember trying to write on them in a wax crayon? I liked to do them in stages of color and that always meant holding them up in the dye to a certain degree for a length of time. However, what was Easter without the dyed eggs?

Because of where we lived, w. PA, it was generally a pretty cold, cold day. Thus the large Easter basket was hidden inside. I remember high-school friends helping me put it together and I always had an egg parade leading up to the basket itself. You cut the decorations out then, and affixed them to the eggs so that it looked some years like a band and other years like circus characters. It took a lot of time and I don't know how anyone did it alone. We always had the yellow marshmallow chicks, and then a really big egg of quality chocolate and some smaller quality chocolate pieces. My mother was British, and she found the best of the family-making chocolatiers. We didn't have a lot of it, very little, but it all looked pretty and everyone was quite thrilled with it. If the weather was warm enough, some club say, the Rotary, would hide eggs and money in plastic eggs along the Park and its river. People had a great time there. A parade would be had with dogs dressed up, the usual crepe trikes and more candy.

Of course for dinner everyone had ham, but again b/c Mom was British, we had a leg of lamb (first sign of spring...or some had salmon). Give me lamb. We'll have grilled lamb chops today. My father cooked a whole Hubbard squash and we just enjoyed a peaceful (for us!) meal. We children always made an Easter cake as mom didn't have time for dessert. Plus those teeth that could so easily be ruined had to be worried about! :)

The days of Lent were what led to Easter as the pay-off. Friday's were a day of complete sacrifice of food until a fish dinner. That was later changed and no one seems to just eat fish on Fridays. It was a bit difficult in a small inland town...we had fish, but it was the frozen block variety & took forever to thaw. I like Palm Sunday as they came in waving the large palms, but I sure didn't like the length of the sermon.

Mom didn't believe in a lot of sweets for children, thus that egg would last almost until Friday of the week following Easter. As I grew older and worked in a large Greek community at one time, I adopted some of their traditions. (Long after I had left home.) My name is a Greek & British one, and both my daughters have Greek/European names. I would make a bread, braid it and put colored (beet colored) eggs in the dough. The eggs cooked in the oven, but I never ate them as I'm not an egg lover. The dough was a nice, barely sweet one. Oh, and we always have beet colored and vinegar covered eggs. Pickled eggs....my husband loves them and makes them to this day. They're a lovely color and have a slight taste of many different spice in them. That's both British (white eggs alone) or Pa. Dutch (German). Of course what would Easter be without deviled eggs that's what America is....a coming together of many traditions and I've always embraced that about it. I can remember buying some (what seemed to us) expensive patterned Hungarian eggs one year. My daughter smashed every single one of them....I later tried to reproduce them from a magazine, but as I've said before, an artist I'm not.

I think a ham is the usual traditional American meat to have. Other countries have their own customs, and we always attended Passover celebrations when possible. I don't to anything for Easter now...religion left my life for various reasons, but I do miss the traditions and the old songs (in Latin) and prayers. I like making other people happy, It thrilled me to see my brothers and sisters enjoying it so. I should mention that my particular memory didn't include my now-dead grandparents, and my father would be dead the following Easter. As a result everything is near and dear to my heart....nothing is ever taken for granted. Long dead people are once again alive and my gratitude diary is a living one...each and every day of my life.

Thanks for helping me lay out the memory, Judee, and thanks for sharing your special one with us. Yours, Lenora. (I know I don't have to add that, but I think something written should always be accompanied by a signature.) No, I don't do it for everything.
 
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Judee

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Thanks for helping me lay out the memory, Judee, and thanks for sharing your special one with us.
I love hearing about different family traditions and the different traditions that come together into one with a marriage unit.

Sounds like good memories and good food. I only tasted lamb once as a child. At the time, it was too strong a taste for my young taste buds but I like it now and we buy lamb chops from Australia through Costco. They're very good but what attracted me to them especially and made me want to try lamb again is that they look like tiny little T-bone steaks. (I know, kinda odd.)

Thanks for making the holiday more special to me. I can picture your family doing those things even though we've never met and I don't know actual faces.

Judee
 
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I am recalling a very old memory of working- as a child, for my father...who managed a major Department Store.

I assembled ALL the Easter Baskets! Thats right! It was a different time, back in the, oh say mid 1960s. So somehow...I was transported at 10, 11, 12 years of age..down to the store and up the stairs to the Stock Room. There, I would basically gather all the various candies and eggs and little toys and goodies, and put the fake grass in the baskets, add the candies and toys, then wrap them in giant colorful cellophane with great big bows.

My Father would then give me a dollar. And I felt real rich! And unexploited!
 

lenora

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I love hearing about different family traditions and the different traditions that come together into one with a marriage unit.

Sounds like good memories and good food. I only tasted lamb once as a child. At the time, it was too strong a taste for my young taste buds but I like it now and we buy lamb chops from Australia through Costco. They're very good but what attracted me to them especially and made me want to try lamb again is that they look like tiny little T-bone steaks. (I know, kinda odd.)

Thanks for making the holiday more special to me. I can picture your family doing those things even though we've never met and I don't know actual faces.

Judee

Yes, we often buy Australian lamb chops, too. I think for tomorrow we'll be having organic Texan lamb (remember there are only 2 of us now) and boy, there is some great lamb in the spring. It's always a treat, I don't know why, I mean I've been having it since I was a child, but most Americans wouldn't eat lamb then, although tastes have changed remarkably. My mother was a wonderful cook. We had Italian food at a time when Chef Boy Ar 'D was the only game in town, Greek food, all the British favorites and always, always a huge meal after the last daytime Mass on Sunday. We didn't have any money, but that's the one thing she would splurge for. Of course it would take 4 hrs. to do the dishes, and then she was hungry again! So some of the British faves were Bubble'n Squeak (brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes & any bits of leftover meat) Toad in the Hole....sausages (and we had heavenly sausages in that part of PA, courtesy of the Amish) in a Yorkshire Pudding type mixture, curry of course...and I used to make that for our children also. We had every chutney imaginable to go with it....their friends used to love it, and when she was having a hard time of things, food was the first thing to go. Yorkshire Pudding was originally made for the meat to cook over, and would fill the people up before the meat course. FYI only. I think the war years were very hard on people there and they always had a "thing" about food. Rod's parents were the same....nothing but nothing ever went to waste.

Judee, you must tell me about yourself (if you feel like it of course). I was very sorry to hear that both you and your mother suffer from this...that must be incredibly difficult.

Rufous....so you were responsible for this fancy looking cellophane wrapped nos. that everyone wanted? Lots of marshamallow eggs, jelly beans and an Easter Bunny in a box, with a toy of some sort or another strategically placed of course! All for $1, well you're quite right, we didn't feel exploited and were just glad to have the feel of money cross our palms. I'll bet your still good at bows, aren't you. I have to confess that I bought baskets just like you're describing for all 4 of our grandchildren one year at Sam's. I couldn't bear the thought of individual baskets and there's something about the cellophane wrapped ones that brings out the greed in all children. They were a huge hit! So, you were the Easter Bunny's Elf...I hope that goes into the family tree. We all have our uses, don't we? I'll bet you'd be really good at fruit baskets too, if you're ever job hunting! Yours Lenora.
 
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@lenora I like the idea of this thread! When the holidays come around they bring up so many memories.

In my childhood, Passover was spent with my father's family in Canada: my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. We only saw each other once or twice a year, so it was always marvelous to all sit at the same table to sing, eat, talk, and just be together. As the years have gone by and people have passed away we always make space to remember the people who are no longer there: my grandfather, my mother, and my cousin who died in a bicycle accident.

Although my grandparents rarely spoke about their childhoods (they are both Holocaust survivors), it was clear that Passover brought back memories for them as well. My grandmother told us once that her own father had a note in his Haggadah (the book with all of the prayers, readings, and directions for the ceremony welcoming Passover) showing at what point during the seder (that's the ceremony) my great-grandmother should put the potatoes in the oven so they would be perfectly roasted by the time the meal began. And my grandfather always chanted the song 'Chad Gadya' using a tune from his childhood in Poland.

The Passover seder is long and not particularly kid-friendly, so my cousins would get into all sorts of shenanigans (my mom was the most strict of our parents, so my brother and I tended to behave ourselves). I have memories of cousins crawling around under the table, going off to wrestle in the den and then coming back with bloody noses, and just a lot of thumping and screaming.

There was always a lot of laughter at the table, too. During one part of the seder the 'master of the house' (in the words of our very old Haggadah) is supposed to wash his hands ceremonially. My uncle would grandly tell my aunt to bring the pitcher of water and a bowl so he could wash. She didn't take kindly to being ordered around, so she usually brought him a pitcher full of ice water and then threw the towel in his face. My uncle also used to place slips of paper with bad jokes into everyone's Haggadahs, and when we came to a page with a joke we had to read it to the table.

The food was such a big part of our time together! When it comes to Passover food, there's the good, the bad, and the truly awful. The first real food served at our seder is traditionally a hard-boiled egg in salt water. This was usually accompanied by a heated debate over whether one should eat the yolk, and a discussion of everyone's cholesterol levels. The egg is followed by a big piece of gefilte fish (a ball of ground whitefish that has been cooked in broth--very few people like it, but everyone seems to eat it!) with a single slice of cooked carrot on top, and chicken soup with matzah balls. Some of the other dishes served at our seder every year were chicken with olives, roasted potatoes, apple matzah kugel (kind of like a sweet casserole). Unfortunately Passover desserts tend to taste like sawdust, no matter how much chocolate or frosting you add. It's best to stick with fruit, which was always disappointing when I was a child! The hardest Passover food to stomach is called shmura matzah. This kind of matzah looks and tastes a bit like burnt cardboard--it's handmade, baked in a really really hot brick oven, and its production is strictly supervised.

Some years we had unexpected visitors. According to lore, the prophet Elijah visits each house where Passover is celebrated (kind of like a Jewish Santa Claus, I suppose, but without the presents) and a cup of wine is even set out for him on each table. One year we were in the middle of our seder when the doorbell rang. The prophet Elijah?! No, a delivery man from Pizza Pizza! It took a while to convince him that he was at the wrong house (really--we can't eat pizza during Passover!), and the whole time my aunt was arguing with him we wondered if we should offer him the wine from Elijah's cup. Another year the doorbell rang again (this was the year after the pizza incident), this time it was a person collecting money for the Special Olympics who gave an enthusiastic and veeeeery long-winded sales pitch.

Thank you for giving us a space to remember and to share.
 

lenora

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HI Rebecca....Yours certainly was a long and involved ceremony. Do you tend to do that now with your children, or have you also shortened it? The Passover Celebrations we went to were controlled and everyone had a part in them, including us, and they just made for special events with special people. Our children always won Elijah's money, for example. Of course that didn't lead them looking favorably year after year.

We then exchanged holidays and had them down for Christmas. Now I'm the type of nut who used to go all out for every holiday, right down to antique decorations. My friends actually think that's how all Christians celebrate Xmas....little do they know! I miss those days and having the children around, but it was wonderful to learn all about another religion from the inside. People are people and 99% are kind and open. They're willing to share what they have and most of us are willing to learn. I'm grateful that I have that kind of neighbor; so very grateful. The people next door to us are also Jewish, but non-practicing. This I'm sure has been difficult for their second child who married an orthodox Jew. There's a whole difference that goes with it, as you know, and I don't know how I would fare under such circumstances.

Anyway, we often end up at Synagogue with them for funerals, weddings, etc. Although most Jewish funerals tend to take place at the gravesite. Over the years we have been party to two in the chapel itself.

The pizza man, huh? Just what you'd feel like after a meal like the one you just had. Where in Canada did your relatives live? We lived in both Sask. and Ont., and knew Quebec well. Toronto has become a huge city now...and no, we weren't up there b/c of draft dodging. I had two brothers in Vietnam, and Rod couldn't gain admittance to the U.S. at that time. We could have had happy lives in Toronto, but the jobs were forever "on the line." We still have friends that we write to and visit from those days. There was a huge gathering of people from other countries after WWII and they still existed by the time we became citizens. It is a city as expensive as NYC in case you're wondering if it's cheap. Right now the Canadian $ is down, so it's easier to buy a little more. Still, it's a very expensive city and always was. Montreal was a gem until the people against using English became the majority there. Quebec City is full of history, but is now crowded and it's full of yummy things to eat. One of our daughters went there with her hubby for a 2 wk. vacation. We used to go there and to Montreal many, many times...and then everything changed. Americans are tolerated, but Canadians; forget about it!! This was a long time ago now, I'm sure things have changed again. We had friends from all over the world as we were part of a huge expat community. Our best friends turned out to be the Canadians we met along the way. Great folks. Well, you can invite me to one of your Passover Services any day...I'd like that! Thanks for sharing. Yours, Lenora.
 
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Yours certainly was a long and involved ceremony. Do you tend to do that now with your children, or have you also shortened it?
I don't have any children yet. However, this year thanks to the internet I was able to pop into my husband's family's seder and it was even longer than ours! In our family we skipped a few things here and there, or read a few lines in English. His family did every last part, and everything was in Hebrew! I'm not sure what we'll do when kids come along. It's a bit of a tradition for kids to be bored during the seder and figure out ways to amuse themselves.

They're willing to share what they have and most of us are willing to learn. I'm grateful that I have that kind of neighbor; so very grateful.
It's wonderful when neighbors are able to share holidays like that.

Where in Canada did your relatives live?
My father grew up in Hamilton, but we visit my aunt in Toronto for Passover. It's amazing how that city has grown in the past few decades--you can barely even see the lake's shore from Lake Shore Drive because of all of the high rise buildings! Right now Hamilton is actually experiencing a bit of a boom because of people who have been priced out of Toronto. Which is nice, since Hamilton has been in decline for a long time.
 

lenora

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Yes, it is nice for the Hamilton, Burlington market to experience the overflow from Toronto. As I recall from our time in Hamilton, it was a hard working city that could use some of today's perks for innecer Cit related.


I'm glad to hear that house-building will save the Hamilton/Burlington area. As I recall, there were so many good, hard-working immigrants who tried tot see it all before it disappears. I just wish we were young enough to appreciate it all once more again. Thanks for replying. Yours Lenora
 
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It was rainy and dark on Easter Sunday...but a couple of days later, my little Grandaughter got to take her new mocassins and walk in the meadow. She insisted on walking and had a great time! There were juvenile owls up in the trees....and lots of bark and good smelling things to touch and enjoy. And the breeze!

Cataleya meets filaree.jpeg
 

lenora

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Oh, she is adorable. I guess you're planning on locking your daughter in the attic while you raise her child...is that it? So moccasins make it easier to walk? I didn't know that.
 

lenora

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Hi Rufous....How much longer is your daughter planning to stay? You'll collapse for a couple of days and then really, really miss them for a few weeks. Then life will once again become your "new normal." It's a pain, though, we feel that we've missed out on so much of life and, of course, we have.

I'm feeling somewhat better today, at least as far as last weeek's surgery went. My coughing is better and I'm able to breathe without feeling that I'm drowning. Just so exhausted, but then what's new? Her daddy won't recognize his little baby when she returns home, will he?
 
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I'm feeling somewhat better today, at least as far as last weeek's surgery went.
So sorry you had to go thru that, but glad to hear your doing better...the breathing is always tough after....so feel better soon!

It will be quite hard when they go back, but I'll adjust...hopefully!
 
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Hi Rufous....How much longer is your daughter planning to stay? You'll collapse for a couple of days and then really, really miss them for a few weeks. Then life will once again become your "new normal." It's a pain, though, we feel that we've missed out on so much of life and, of course, we have
Well, my daughter was chatting with her friend so I did some Mom eavesdropping. She is- well not quite ready to head back,... maybe towards the end of the month- they can sneak thru the airport which is somewhat abandoned..assuming some flight will exist.

Meanwhile: I better take advantage of the help I have...with her here. And then we want to be there. And to do that is- complicated but totally what I ultimately desire, even tho imagining it (not living in the US any longer..) is- challenging.

Its about trusting the universe.

*****
Philosophies of child rearing vary. I am the: rarely say no Parent. I am all about- HOW you might be able to in fact look at the Pretty Thing which breaks. I am all about- allowing the child maximum access to the universe with the fewest "No's". I do establish: some things are No. But thats should be- not many things.

Meanwhile- her Dad yells NO from the phone as he sees his 11 month old rifling thru the Pan Cabinet.

So then- I also suggest- SCREAMING is not an appropriate activity inside the Apartment (you could find her, a mile away in some dark woods). I suggest- some calm. She responds, calms down. So her father and his family: hollar and whoop and scream at her thru the phone!

He served up this is our major differences...culturally- that They are Exuberant; and we are uptight.

Oh well.

I'll just have to trust the Universe. That this will: all be OK.
 

lenora

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You're right, Rufous, you will adjust. I always felt that I'd be crying a river after everyone went. While it's true that I missed them, a routine is a good thing to be in....for them and us. Zoom and the like will make it much easier for you to stay in Cataleya's life.

It's gorgeous here today and I'm enjoying new wind chimes, new cushions on the furniture and pretty flowers everywhere. I love being outside; I've always been that type of person & this porch gives me a chance to "break free." We can't use it in the winter time, though. I guess everything's being held in abeyance b/c of the virus, isn't it? (I meant as far as travel's concerned.) I don't have the same breathing problem today & I'm actually hoping to have some sleep tonight. All is well. Yours, Lenora.
 

lenora

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Oh, dear, Rufous.....Different child rearing techniques are tough and it must be worrisome for you and your daughter's father.

When mine were younger, I kept a tight leash (& one should have been on a leash :)) when we were in public. Truly, people stared you down if your children didn't behave in the appropriate manner. I don't know when the break came, but we've seen plenty of unruly children since. We've also seen parents who bend over backwards to teach them the skills necessary to fit into society. I do know that my daughters and sons-in-law raised their children to be respectful, mind the rules in our house (as they knew them), etc. I, in turn, kept my mouth closed about certain broken things, and tried to teach my grandchildren without yelling at them. First off, it scares them; then they don't hear it at all.

I don't know that there can be any changing of the oldest generation, but your daughter can certainly buy some books for your son-in-law. Many men find the infant years to be among the hardest when dealing with children. Talking opens up a whole new world to them, and Daddy's do have an affinity for their little girls....ask any mother of a girl or girls.

A suggestion: Perhaps your daughter could buy some toys, books anything, but always something that will fascinate your granddaughter for each of the aunts who are put out with her behavior. That way, they have something to give her to keep her attention for a short time. Little by little, they may come to realize that your granddaughter is just a sweet baby trying her best to grow up between two worlds. From what you've said before, it sounds like the son-in-law is a smart, reasonable man and perhaps all he needs is some guidance through each stage of child development. Both parents will have to agree to give something up as they try to reach an understanding of the baby's growth.

One other thing: A child changes a marriage like nothing else. Men feel overwhelmed with the responsibility and women often feel questionable as mothers. It's a game changer, no doubt about that one. I hope you wanted a bit of commiserating ?) Love, Lenora.
 
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