Celebrating Passover traditions from Morocco to Nepal
In praise of Passover traditions all over the world
This past week, Jews all over the world observed Passover, a holiday that commemorates the liberation of the Jewish people from slavery, and their exodus from Egypt. The holiday is marked by a period of abstinence from leavened food, consumption of unleavened bread, called matzah, and the holding of traditional dinners, called seders.
Beyond these commonalities, Passover traditions vary across the globe. In North America, seders can feature hours of ceremonial commentary and ritual, or trend toward more modern interpretations. In Afghanistan, Jews historically whipped themselves with scallions in commemoration of the horrors of slavery, a tradition also found amongst Persian Jews. Ethiopian Jews are known for breaking all of their dishes, so they can start the year fresh with a new set.
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The hot and cold secrets of the Persian kitchen
One of the keys to Persian cooking is understanding that some foods are considered hot and others cold. What exactly does that mean? Global Voices asked Persian food expert Maryam Sinaiee, of the website Persian Fusion, to explain the concept:
"Hot and cold don’t really refer to the temperature of food or its ingredients, they are rather descriptions of inherent properties in food ingredients that cause changes in the body.
The concept is based on Unani medicine [an ancient Greek medicinal tradition], according to which, individuals differ in nature too [with] some having a hot nature and others, cold. These attributes are associated with the color and temperature of the skin, temperament, etc."
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I have known oud for as long as I can remember; it has been present in almost every aspect of my life. The scent was in every sitting I was in – at home, at the houses of my neighbours and relatives, and in every mosque. I remember the scent of oud very well in our local mosque back in the 80s; of course, this was when everyone burnt quality oud. Nowadays, it is only the smell of the best oud that takes me back to my mosque in 1987. I am one of those people who are very sentimental about growing up in the 80s. I love the cartoons, television programmes, and cars of the era; but nothing gives me the feeling of nostalgia like the aroma of a certain type of oud. This very oud has become incredibly rare and expensive to possess these days, and its scent carries a feeling of hope and carelessness that can only be felt by a child.
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