This past weekend we celebrated the first night of Passover; and I think this holiday was the hardest one for me. Regardless of what and how you celebrate, for many the family and cultural connections rather than any religious significance is what we hold on to. Last year this time and because of Covid and quarantine restrictions, it was the very first time my mother was not part of the celebration. This year, her seat at our table was empty- and I believe her death this past summer was an indirect result of Covid.
For me and perhaps for many of you, these holidays have a traditional familial connection rather than a religious one. The foods eaten, or perhaps the foods not eaten, while symbolic of a religious theme, provide a familial custom. It is this connection and the lifelong memories associated with these annual holiday celebrations which I believe remain with us. For me, it is the family gathering, the specialty foods and singing of songs that stay. For those who lost a loved one and for those of us who are observing physical distancing, an empty seat or two or fifteen, at the holiday meal table can be particularly difficult.
There is comfort in using a favorite holiday recipe that was previously made by a loved one. I continue to follow the same turkey recipe that my grandmother and mother used. This year my son joined me to prepare another favorite and customary dish and we are making new traditions.
The sharing of food and song which has been celebrated for hundreds of years is constantly being reshaped as a result of life’s ever changing landscape. As we look ahead, we need to believe that next year we will be together.