Religious holidays are no exception. Food is associated with many holidays of different faiths during various times of the year. Some of the examples include, but are not limited to:
Ramadan: an Islamic holiday focusing on prayer and fasting. The latter is broken every night through prayer, reading of the Qu’ran and a meal called iftar. Determined by the lunar calendar, Muslim students will start Ramadan on July 9th, 2013. Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan and during this three-day celebration Muslims celebrate, give gifts, and take part in a great feast (August 8-11, 2013).
Navratri: one of the major Hindu festivals, this holiday is dedicated to the deity Durga and celebrates the triumph of good over evil.
|Sabudana vada - Navratri|
|Christmas Tamales displayed in plantain leaves|
Chinese New Year / Spring Festival: the most important Confucian / Taoist / Buddhist holiday, this year’s celebration fell on February 10, 2013. Families gather together, fireworks are displayed, red envelops with money are handed, and many sumptuous and traditional dishes are prepared, involving various foods (pork, chicken and fish), dumplings, fruit (mandarin oranges and melons), and sweets (niangao), among others.
|Chinese New Year Cake|
|Empanadas de chiverre on the making!|
Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter, and “Holly Week”: Christian, Catholic, and Protestant holidays that commemorate the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles, the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ (March 28, 29, and 31, 2013, respectively). In general, these dates are associated with prayer, fasting and great devotion. Meat is usually prohibited. During Easter, colored eggs and chocolate bunnies are widely popular. In some areas of Latin America, such as Costa Rica, this entire week is referred to as “Holly Week” and some of the most common foods are “mute” tamales (tamales with no food, usually made of beans) and chiverre empanadas, a pastry filled with sweet made from white winter squash, a great favorite of mine! If you are up to the challenge of trying to make these, here is a good and easy recipe of Costa Rican empanadas de chiverre!!
The list of holidays above is certainly not extensive. There are many other ones that could not be included in this blog entry due to time and space constrictions. However, if you love food as much as I do, I hope you enjoyed this entry and you learned more about delicious dishes from various traditions!
"Religion and Food." Encyclopedia of Food & Culture. Ed. Solomon H. Katz. Vol. 3. Gale Cengage, 2003. eNotes.com. 1 Apr, 2013 http://www.enotes.com/religion-food-reference/