Let's celebrate everybody's holidays
Whether or not you choose to wear green this weekend, eat corned beef and cabbage, or retell the tale of when you kissed the Blarney Stone, you will likely find Irish revelers on St. Patrick's Day, and you may wish to join them.
Your heritage is valuable, and so is everyone's, which is why it can be great fun to enter into the joy of all the holidays and to learn a bit more about our friends.
On May 5th and September 16th, I love experiencing the excitement of Mariachi bands honoring Cinco de Mayo and Mexican Independence Day, respectively. The tacos are great, too! During Vietnamese New Year (Tet) in Vietnam, I danced with the “dragon” after having helped prepare food the previous night from century-old traditions. I became quite fond of their rice and local vegetables, even though I excused myself from dining on the just-slaughtered roasted hog.
I have enjoyed friends' and relatives' Passover Seders, bar and bat mitzvahs, first communions, confirmations, ministerial installations and ordinations, and happily entered into each celebration with joy and respect. I always appreciate breaking bread (or Halva) together afterward, as well.
It is noteworthy that every celebration seems to include a feast where special food is shared and conversation becomes rich. Can you imagine how this world might change if more diverse groups of people would sit down together to a beautiful meal, shared recipes, and willingly learned more about one another's cultures? It is stunning to see how many of the same foods are enjoyed by natives of Middle Eastern nations, whether Arab or Jew. Various versions of these recipes have developed over the centuries, but there is more similarity than difference, and the differences simply make it interesting.
So, I intend to enjoy being Irish this weekend, even though only a maternal grandmother brought a few such genes to the family, and, yes, I shall wear green. If invited to a Seder this month, I shall gladly attend, and Easter is always a very special day for me. By May 5th, I'll be seeking Mariachi and enchiladas, and I will happily join you in your cultural and religious celebrations, especially if food is involved. Let's sit down at the table together.
The Rev. Maxine Kaye serves as interim minister at Yuma Center for Spiritual Living. To receive daily inspirational messages, go to TheConsciousConnections.com.