Foods that bring us together this April.
For the first time in over 30 years, Muslims, Jews, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Hindus are celebrating their spring holidays at the same time. This is particularly significant as the three biggest and most important religious observances are also taking place. During this month of observing and celebrating, it’s good to remember foods that bring us together this April.
This April we will see the start of Easter, Ramadan and Passover, with many of us observing these important milestones. This is a unique opportunity to promote understanding and curiosity during our shared time of observance. And of course, you will not be surprised to read that these celebrations have much more in common than we could possibly think.
Easter – celebrating the resurrection of Jesus after his crucifixion
Easter is all about celebrating the resurrection of Christ and is preceded by the season of Lent. 40 days of observance and abstinence before a day of celebration on Easter Sunday.
Traditionally, Christians who observe Lent take inspiration from Christ’s sacrifice of going into the desert for 40 days. Giving up indulgent foods such as butter, sugar, eggs, dairy and meat. This fast is broken on Easter Sunday, the resurrection day, by a great feast and nowadays by eating Chocolate Easter Eggs and Bunnies. And no matter what our religious beliefs, we all enjoy chocolate eggs as one of the foods that brings us together this April.
In many cultures eggs are a symbol of new life and for this reason Chocolate as well as hard boiled eggs are eaten at this time.
Eating chocolate on Easter Sunday became popular during Victorian times, as chocolate and sugar became more easily available, but was still considered a luxury.
Chocolate Easter eggs, bringing new to the old
Chocolate eggs combine the religious connotations of rebirth with luxury and feasting. Today in the UK, 13% of all confectionery sales are at Easter time. Although more chocolate is given as gifts at Christmas time, more is consumed during Easter.
At Medfood we have a delicious range of chocolate confectionery that will delight all taste buds. We have selected decadent dried fruits, coffee beans and nuts. We have liberally covered them in dark, milk or white chocolate or yogurt. One of our most popular confectionery items is our milk chocolate coated almonds dusted with cinnamon. A fantastic flavour combination. And for something different how about our yogurt covered banana chips.
The holy month of Ramadan
The holy month of Ramadan is observed by Muslim’s worldwide as a month of fasting, prayer, reflection and community. It is a commemoration of prophet Muhammad’s first revelation and it lasts for 29 to 30 days, from one sighting of the crescent moon to the next. During this month many Muslims eat similar foods that brings us together.
Many celebrate by gathering regularly in the evenings and trying to read the whole Quran during the month. Just like Lent, Ramadan is observed through abstinence. No eating and drinking, including water while the sun is up.
A month of family and community
More than anything, this month is about family and community. Families wake up early, before sunrise to eat a meal before starting their fast. After sunset the fast is broken with dates and sweet drinks, for a boost of energy. It is followed by a rich meal and sweet desserts containing nuts, honey and raisins.
Ramadan ends with the Eid-Al-Fitr, the greatest celebration of all and a joyful statement of faith and accomplishment. During the celebration, people dress in their finest clothes, decorate their homes with lights, give treats to children and visit friends and family.
Favourite festive foods includes sweets knows as Maamoul. Delicate biscuits liberally filled with pistachios, almonds, dates or walnuts. All beautiful ingredients that you can find in our product range.
Another favourite treat is Lokum or Turkish delight. These jewel like sweets are found on most tables and come in many flavours and nut-filled combinations.
At Medfood we are particularly proud of our range of Turkish delight. Our range consists of traditional flavours such as rose and lemon. And newer flavours such as pomegranate, cherry and mint. Not to mention luxurious delights filled with decadent pistachios.
Passover – the spring festival of freedom
Passover is a celebration of the story of Exodus. During this times Jews remember how their ancestors left slavery behind and were led out of Egypt and into freedom by Moses. Passover is one of the most important festivals of the Jewish year.
The celebrations last for seven or eight days and consists of different rituals. An unleavened bread called Matzo is eaten. It is a reminder of the time when the Jews fled and had no time to let their bread rise. For this reason, nothing leavened is eaten at this time, including bread, cakes and biscuits.
Traditional Passover foods include matzo ball soup, fish, beef brisket and chicken with potatoes. Favourite Passover sweets include macaroons made with almond or coconut flour, pavlovas and ice creams.
For those who identify with one of these three faith traditions, the closeness of our holy days should remind us of our connection to each other. The ways in which our stories and cultures overlap. During these times of observing and celebrating, let’s remember that foods that bring us together and how much we have in common.
May the convergence of Passover, Easter, and Ramadan remind us that we really do belong to each other. That our diversity is part of what makes us, us. That there is room at the table for us all.
References and photography attributes
Wikipedia – Easter, Ramadan and Passover
BBC bitesize – Passover
Times – Ramadan festivities