It just so happens that the Persian spring equinox new year, Nowruz, and the Jewish holiday of Purim, which harkens back to ancient Jewish history in Persia, fall the same week this year. What better excuse to combine efforts and cook up a pseudo-Persian Purim!
I’ll be making Hamantaschen (three-cornered filled pastries) tomorrow, then roasting a turkey Persian style on Wednesday, along with appropriate rice and other dishes, with a Sephardic/Persian music playlist. Of course the obligatory festive drinking will be featured. On Thursday, E is going to try making real Challah from scratch for the first time, in time for Friday, Shabbat. It’s her latest adventure!
Ironic–I move to the absolutely least Jewish place on earth, with the most gentile person possible, and end up dusting off my long-neglected cultural, culinary heritage (at least the Sephardic version that I wish I could claim) and sharing it with a “captivated” audience. She has come to appreciate and look forward to the weekly custom of Shabbat, a new and unfamiliar experience of creating a peaceful atmosphere and sitting down to a festive meal together. It gives me a good excuse to experiment with recipes I’ve never gotten to try elsewhere. When a holy day or festival comes along, I just ramp up the atmosphere and fest-level.
E has very painful family associations with mainstream holidays, part of a whole grieving process, so for her, this is a chance for a clean slate and creating new “traditions”, a new “family” and start. For me, it’s a chance to reinvent a lifestyle not fraught with my own unpleasant associations and memories. Together, we are creating our own customs that make sense and have meaning for us, minus the stress and negativity.