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March, 2013

March 2013 is packed full of special days and holidays!

St. Patrick’s DayDYP’s (Dutch Yellow® Potatoes)
Another very popular holiday in March is St. Patrick’s Day. St. Patrick’s Day, which is always March 17th, is an Irish holiday honoring Saint Patrick, the missionary credited with converting the Irish to Christianity (in the A.D. 400's). Historical sources report that Patrick was born around 373 A.D. in either Scotland (near the town of Dumbarton) or in Roman Britain (the Romans left Britain in 410 A.D.). His real name is believed to be Maewyn Succat (he took on Patrick, or Patricus, after he became a priest). At the age of 16, he was kidnapped by pirates and sold into slavery in Ireland. During his 6-year captivity working as a shepherd, he began to have religious visions, and found strength in his faith. He finally escaped and went to France, where he became a priest (and later a bishop).

When Saint Patrick was about 60 years old, he traveled to Ireland to spread the Christian word. It is said, that Saint Patrick had an unusually winning personality, which helped him win converts. He used the shamrock, which resembles a three-leafed clover, as a metaphor to explain the concept of the Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). Saint Patrick was also known to have driven all the snakes out of Ireland, which is why Ireland has no snakes. Different tales tell of Saint Patrick standing on a hill, using a wooden staff to drive the serpents into the sea, banishing them forever from the shores of Ireland.

Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated in the United States with plenty of food, fun and wearing green. The first American celebration of Saint Patrick's Day was in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1737. Americans celebrated with festivities and food. Today, we celebrate with foods like cabbage, our famous DYP’s (Dutch Yellow® Potatoes), corned beef and green foods of any kind.

Green is associated with Saint Patrick's Day because it is the color of Spring, Ireland, and the shamrock. Leprechauns are also associated with this holiday.

KaleMelissa’s has some great healthy food ideas for this green holiday: We suggest Green Cabbage or even Salad Savoy (Flowering Kale). Boil these greens until tender and serve with your favorite meat (corned beef is traditional) and you’re off to a great start. Cabbage and kale contain plenty of vitamin C, too. They also have zero fat and zero cholesterol. Kale has become very popular for juicing because it is nutrient dense and no calories.

These FUN FACTS are considered good luck on Saint Patrick’s Day…

Finding a four-leaf clover
Wearing green Kissing the blarney stone

March also brings us these religious observances:
Lent begins – February 13, 2013
Palm Sunday – March 24, 2013
Passover begins March 25 at Sundown
Good Friday – March 29, 2013
Easter Sunday – March 31, 2013

Easter
This year Easter is March 31, 2013. The name "Easter" originated with the names of an ancient Goddess and God. Easter was named after Eostre. She was the Great Mother Goddess of the Saxon people of Northern Europe. Her name was derived from the ancient word for spring "eastre." The ancient Saxons celebrated the return of spring with a festival commemorating her. Easter was originally a pagan festival. The second-century Christian missionaries came across these pagans and decided to convert them to Christianity. They did it slowly, allowing them to continue celebrating their way, then slowly changing the holiday to a Christian holiday. Easter is celebrated by Christian’s world wide with food and festivities.

This year, Good Friday is March 29, 2013, Many people attend church on Good Friday in preparation of Easter the following Sunday.

Passover
Passover begins March 25, 2013 at sundown to commemorate the deliverance of the Jews from slavery in Egypt. It is also known as the Festival of Unleavened Bread, in their flight into exile, the Hebrews had time to prepare only unleavened bread (matzo) to take with them. The holiday lasts one week. Families gather for a Seder for one BIG night and possibly other nights.

Fruits for PassoverIn the center of the table at every Passover Seder is a plate arranged with foods symbolic of the holiday. The only one that requires a recipe is charoset: this is a mixture of fruits, nuts, and spices. Charoset represents the mortar the Jewish people made while laboring as slaves in Egypt. Melissa’s offers a complete variety of fruits, nuts, and spices to accommodate the variety of ways it is prepared in Jewish communities all over the world.

Wine is also served during the Seder and is used and drank throughout the service. Children are served grape juice so they, too, can participate. The highlight of the evening is when the leader of the Seder hides the Afekoman, a piece of Passover Matzo used in the Seder, and the children have to search the home to find it. The child who finds it uses it to "bribe" the Seder leader who needs it to finish the service... He in turn gives the child a coin, or a dollar bill. It is all in fun. Also, the youngest child that can read is asked to read the FOUR QUESTIONS-these are simple questions explaining to the child, and the group, why we have Passover. Most services conducted in the home last from half an hour up to one hour.

PassoverFor a special Passover Seder, choose from a variety of Melissa’s potatoes, boiler onions and fresh parsley for karpas; horseradish for chahzeret and morror; and apple-pears for a unique charoset. To accompany pot roast and poultry dishes after the Seder, Melissa's Baby Red Potatoes, Pearl Onions, Celery Root and Parsley Root, will enhance your meal. Try our favorite recipes to make your feast simple and delicious. Fresh Herbs and Spices prepared into Matzo Ball Soup, along with dried fruits and nuts for snacking, are also a 'must have' for this celebration.