Ancient Holidays, New Traditions

Tonight is the start of Passover which just happens to be my favorite holiday. How could I not love a holiday that combines singing, food and emphasizes social justice.

I’m a big believer that rules are meant to be broken while traditions are meant to be kept. If this blog was about life and not food, I’d explain that further, but for now just go with it, k?

One of the coolest thing about Passover is that it steeped heavily in age-old traditions and still leaves room to begin new traditions. On the first two nights of Passover we have a Seder where we retell the story of our enslavement and coming out of Egypt, sing songs and eat a big delicious meal. In the center of the table is a Seder plate and on the Seder plate are certain foods that have symbolic meanings behind them. These foods have appeared on our Seder plates for centuries, but in modern times families often add new foods as symbols.

A few years ago my family started adding an orange to our Seder plates. There are a few interpretations of what the orange symbolizes, but I’ll tell you what it means to us. To my family the orange represents the inclusion of ALL people in our traditions and most especially the inclusion of Gays and Lesbians. See the orange isn’t something that’s been a traditional part of the Seder, but that’s no reason not to welcome it.

This year will be adding another symbol too, a tomato. No, the tomato doesn’t represent that we’re from New Jersey and are very proud of our tomatoes (though that is true), instead the tomato is there to remind us that, while we celebrate our own freedom from slavery , slavery still exists. Unfortunately much of this slavery exists in the supply chain of our food system and some of the most egregious examples are from the tomato growers in Florida.

The tomato on our Seder plate serves as a reminder that we may be free, but our fight is far from over. Our fight will not be over until all slaves are free, until all workers are guaranteed fair wages and safe conditions.

I hope you have a wonderful Passover, Easter or just a great weekend! Enjoy time with your family and friends, but please try to fill your table with only good quality, fair trade, sustainable food. And if this holiday weekend involves prayer for you, take a minute to pray that we will one day live in a world where all people are free.

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2 comments on “Ancient Holidays, New Traditions

  1. Kate says:

    Alli, I LOVE this post. What a fantastic explanation of traditions and how they can incorporate struggles today.

    I heard a member of CIW speak. Gerardo said “We do not ask you to feel sorry for us- we ask you to act, because we each have a duty to each other. Until we are all, every one of us, free, we cannot claim liberty”.

    Thank you to you and your family for showing us a way to work for that goal of freedom.

  2. […] Ancient Holidays, New Traditions, is our friend Alli’s explanation of how she and her family shared the table this season. […]

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