Spring is in the air and we are loving it! Many parts of the world celebrate the arrival of spring with family, friends, prayer, colors and of course, food!
Let’s take a quick trip around the world and discover some of the many worldly spring traditions involving food.
Nowruz in Iran
Nowruz, Persian for “new day”, is not only celebrated as the first day of spring, but as the start of Persian New Year. This is a thirteen day celebration that dates back to the ancient Mesopotamia’s faith before Islam. Come Nowruz, families come together around a decorated “haft sin” table, an arrangement of seven food items starting with the letter “sin” or S are each symbolic of the new year. These foods are wheat or barley (rebirth), sweet pudding (affluence), dried olive (love), garlic (health), apple (beauty), sumac (sunrise) and vinegar (patience).
Cheese Rolling and Wake in England
Cheese lovers rejoice, there’s a prize to be won, a round of Double Gloucester cheese! All you have to do is head to the top of the steep Cooper’s Hill in Gloucestershire and race your way down the hill with your rolling cheese. The winner gets bragging rights and the ultimate cheesy prize. This century’s old tradition has brought competitors and spectators alike not just from all over England but the world. According to the official cheese rolling website, Stephen Gyde has won a total of 20 cheese rounds over a 14 year period, can you beat that?
Songkran Water Festival in Thailand
You’ll get more than your daily dose of eight cups of water a day at the spring festival of Songkran in Thailand. Songkran, Sanskrit for “astrological passage”, marks the start of spring and a new year. This three day festival includes visiting family elders and the Buddhist temple before the main highlight, the water throwing. Symbolic of cleansing negativity, this symbolic tradition has turned into a fun water fight, done with water balloons, water guns and elephants. We prefer the elephants!
Cimburijada in Bosnia
“Festival of Scrambled Eggs” or Cimburijada is a celebration of welcoming spring that dates back to the Balkan era. This celebration of bringing the town together over a great big breakfast happens every year in the Bosnian town of Zenica. It’s such a big deal, many will camp out the night before to not miss out on the sunrise. Bright and early, in the Kamberovica field by the Bosna River, campers wake up to the sunrise and those around the giant pot scrambling away to feed the entire town and their friends.
Sham El Nessim in Egypt
To mark the occasion of spring, when the winds changed, ancient Egyptians offered salted fish, onions and lettuce to their deities. Thousands of years later, even as the holiday lands a day after Coptic christians’ Easter, Egyptians of all faiths celebrate Sham El Nessim or “smelling of the west winds (Zephyrs)”. Main tradition is the gathering of family and friends out to a picnic to feast on “feseekh”, a fermented grey mullet or white fish. The drying and salting process that can become so complex, many prefer pre-ordering this popular spring dish ready made from the professionals.
Holi in India and Nepal
The Hindu celebration of Holi or “festival of colors” originated from Northern India and Nepal to celebrate the victory of good over evil. The idea behind the celebration of Holi is not only for the occasion of spring but also of new beginnings amongst family and friends. Part of this multi-day festive tradition is coloring rice or soya flour with natural colors, such as from turmeric and kumkum, to share in the laughter and colors with one. Along the streets, everyone smears or throws the colored powder at one another. Today, this colorful part of Holi has been embraced by many from around the world.
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Powered by Zomato Qatar, this article is from BQ Plus’s Issue 10 – April-May 2017.
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