Thank you to Log Cabin for sponsoring my post about updated traditions in my household. To learn more about Log Cabin Syrups (which are all free of High Fructose Corn Syrup), breakfast for dinner, and other new ways to update traditions in your home, click here. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.
I knew that many traditions would change when I married my husband. He is Jewish. I am Christian. We are committed to having our children experience both of our faiths and our cultural heritage. It is not always easy, and particularly around Holidays, we have to be very creative. It is interesting that Passover and Easter fall so close to each other every year. This year, Palm Sunday was yesterday, today is Passover and next Sunday is Easter. Our children are young, and we want them to feel like our family traditions bring us together and do not rip us apart.
We talk to our kids in very general terms about faith and about G-d and how we believe that G-d is a light that surrounds us all. We tell them that many people believe many different things, but that God loves us all. We want them to accept both of our faiths but also to know that the billions of people in this world are all unique and that there are many different beliefs. As they grow older, we will expose them to those differences and answer as many questions as we can, always repeating that love is the most important thing. Love thy neighbor as thyself will be a mantra in our home.
During Hanukkah, we talk a lot about light and being a light in the world. We light the candles each night and remind the kids that miracles can happen and that G-d is with us. We talk about Christmas as it approaches in the same terms. Instead of just one tradition though, we combine the lights of Hanukkah with the lights of Christmas and we rejoice in that amazing time of year.
We also eat…a lot.
Food is a huge part of our holidays traditions and we use it to talk to the kids about where our families are from and how people not only believe different things, but wear different clothes and eat different foods. Over the winter holidays our favorite thing is making potato latkes not only for Hanukkah but also for Christmas! We also engage in that oh so sacred Jewish ritual of Chinese for dinner on Christmas. Our big dinner is now Christmas Eve to make room for the noodles after presents.
Right now we are in New Orleans with my husband’s family, where we will celebrate Passover and have our Seder dinner tonight. Passover celebrates G-d passing over the houses of Jews when he was slaying the firstborn of every family in Egypt. On the 10th night of the plagues, the Angel of Death passed over the houses with the blood of the Passover lamb on their doors. Following these 10 terrible plagues, Pharaoh finally allowed the Israelites to leave Egypt. So, tonightis a celebration of freedom. The Seder meal will consist of many passages read with responses from the group detailing the exodus from Egypt. The kids also love searching for the afikoman, a piece of matzo bread that his hidden in the house. If you find it, you win a prize. The matzo is the last thing eaten at the Seder meal, and represents the fact that the Jews did not have any leavened bread as they began their journey. I love how the meal teaches with each course and that my kids have an understanding of the roots not only of Judaism but of my own faith. It is a tradition that I am proud to add to my family heritage.
Food is a great way to mix up traditions, and this week we will be celebrating and eating breakfast with a new twist. Breakfast is our favorite meal of the day and we are going to indulge in Mazto Meal Pancakes with Log Cabin syrup. Yep – not only is it free of high fructose corn syrup, it is kosher baby! Combine this with some charoset (think nuts, apples and cinnamon), the yummiest part of Passover and you heave a very sweet breakfast! Mixing it up with matzo – what could be better?
Have you updated any family traditions or added some fun new ones to your lives? It is wonderful to keep the things passed down to us, but I think it is great to start new traditions in your home!