Once we roll into March, we all know that spring is creeping up on us. If you are like me, you are giddy because, most likely, the white flurries, called snow, are behind us. March is also bursting with fantastic and fun holidays celebrated by different cultures and religions, and no matter what background you have, all holidays are always associated with food. And food makes us happy and cheery.
In my family, we love trying foods from different cultures; it’s educational and develops my child’s palate. Pittsburgh, like any other city in this country, is a melting pot for so many cultures and nationalities, so why not encourage your kids to try something outside of their comfort zone on different holidays.
One of my child’s favorite desserts is Hamantaschen. We even have a silly jumping dance associated with it where we sing Hamentashen, Hamantaschen and throw our hands in the air. This dessert is associated with a Jewish holiday, Purim. This year it falls on March 6th (Hebrew: “Lots”), Feast of Lots, a festival commemorating the survival of the Jews, who in the 5th century BCE, were marked for death by their Persian rulers and Queen Esther intervened to prevent their death. During this one-day holiday, Jews exchange food, drinks and dress up in costumes. And even if you are not Jewish, who wouldn’t like these luscious, crumbly, buttery cookies in a shape of a triangle, filled with either poppy seeds or various jams? And if you get a second or a third, why wouldn’t you want to do a silly dance, they are so, so gooood.
There is another holiday, I thought I’d mention – International Women’s Day, which is March 8th. Growing up in Russia, it was heavily celebrated. The rumor had it that it was celebrated everywhere in the world, really? We sure don’t celebrate it here. What’s funny, as a child, I do remember my twin and I, with the rest of the Russian kids, of course, being forced to wear a big white bow on our head and women receiving flowers and may be chocolates, if they were available. Sadly though, the flowers were the only thing that there was no shortage of. Toilet paper? Forget about it.
Back to fun. We also celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on March 17. Try mixing Sprite with grenadine for a festive drive. And for adults add some grenadine to the beer. When I lived in Chicago, I loved standing on the bridge over the Chicago River, colored green, the color of emeralds, and watching it flow slowly. Next time, you are in Chicago, and it happens to be around St. Patrick’s Day, check it out. It’s definitely one of Chicago’s most-loved traditions.
So, moms, bake, dance, enjoy the first signs of spring and celebrate with all its glory, fun and deliciousness.