Celebrating without Celebrations

Spring is always a sign of renewal, rebirth, regrowth, and return to our lighter selves. And perfectly aligned with that spring calendar, there are two major holidays happening this week, Passover and Easter, both of which center around these same themes. But this year, we've been thrown off our seasonal rhythms. Despite the blooms on our daily walks, it feels like Spring is cancelled. And with it, the holiday traditions we've loved our entire lives.

For me personally, this will be the first time in my entire life my family will not be gathering together to celebrate Passover. It's been the singular constant in the ever-changing shape of our lives and family. But this year, we are #stayinghome.

So, how exactly do we celebrate these holidays of rebirth while we're sitting trapped in what feels like the prequel to a dystopian zombie movie? How are we supposed to celebrate the riches we've earned from the sacrifices of those who came before us when we're making so many sacrifices ourselves for the hope of a brighter future? I honestly don't have answers, but I'm hoping sharing my plans/ideas will help you find your way to a celebration of some kind.

"See" family from afar: It wouldn't be quarantine without a Zoom shout-out. Of course we'll be doing a mini Zoom Seder with our family - the fun singing parts for the kids and all 4 cups of wine for the grown-ups.

Enjoy some celebratory comfort foods: One of our family's favorite parts of the holidays are cooking special meals and indulging in treats we wouldn't usually eat. We'll have chocolate-covered oranges my grandmother loved, dip fruit in chocolate as my mom loved to do, and make my aunt's recipe for charoset.

Keep/alter your favorite traditions: We may not be putting on our Sunday best, but an egg

hunt (or Afikomen hunt) is still a great way to make the day special. And while I normally buy special Passover dresses the girls wear through spring/summer, I've bought them matching PJ's this year instead.

See the positives in missing the normal festivities: As much as I love the holidays, they can be stressful, too. We may feel trapped/excluded from time with family, but we can choose to feel relieved to skip crowded airports, lucky to skip the stress of prepping large meals, and grateful to avoid wrangling small children into fancy clothes.

Find new/special indulgences:

This year does not have to be about building traditions. It can be about indulging in what is different. Last night I did something I never imagined I'd do: I ordered Passover dinner. After I got over the wave of blasphemy and guilt over not trying to make Alison Roman's entire Passover menu, I was thrilled. We've been cooking breakfast, lunch, and dinner around here and I'm very excited to support a fellow local business and have Passover delivered from Coconut Club. It will be a special treat!

Whether you celebrate Passover, Easter, or neither, I wish you a week of smaller but happy celebrations. And as we wish for at the end of every Passover Seder: next year in the promised land (or at least a land where we can hug each other again)!


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