April Religious Holidays, Soy Month, and Earth Day
- Passover - March 27th sundown - April 4th Sundown
- Easter - April 4, 2021
- Earth Day - April 22, 2021
- National Soy Month
This Jewish holiday is celebrated by Jewish people worldwide, and fresh produce plays an important role in this significant holiday. Passover usually falls around Easter Sunday, and this year Passover ends on Easter. Easter is Sunday, April 4th this year, and Passover began March 27th at sundown. Passover commemorates the deliverance of the Jews from slavery in Egypt.
Passover 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 main night and often additional nights. Generally, it is the second night of Passover. A Seder is a feast filled with Passover traditions, including reading, singing, drinking wine and eating special foods.
In 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: 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 worldwide.
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 evening's highlight is when the leader of the Seder hides the Afikoman, 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. 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.
This year Easter is Sunday, April 4th. Did you know the name "Easter" originated with the name of an ancient Goddess? Easter was named after Eostre. She was the Great Mother Goddess of the Saxon people of Northern Europe. Her name derives 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 Christians worldwide with food and festivities.
This year, Good Friday is April 2, 2021. Many people attend church on Good Friday in preparation for Easter the following Sunday.
- Some states have outlawed plastic straws. Buy a glass or metal straw and keep it handy for when you want to use a straw.
- Some states have banned plastic grocery bags. Use your reusable bags to help cut down on wasteful plastic.
- Recycle, recycle, recycle!
- Don't forget to recycle your plastic, glass, newspapers and aluminum.
- Save water:
- HAND SANITIZER! Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when you want to clean your hands quickly. Especially now with COVID, hand sanitizer is a MUST. However, you still need to wash your hands, thoroughly, so try to use less water when you do.
- Take shorter showers.
- Don't leave the water running when you brush your teeth or wash your hands.
- Always have a full load when doing laundry.
- Always fill the dishwasher before running the cycle.
- Monitor your outdoor sprinklers; make sure they don't go on in the rain!
- Don't use your hose to wash your driveway or sidewalk; use a broom and sweep.
- Walk instead of drive.
- If it is a quick, close errand, walk. Save gas and get some exercise, too!
- Save gas and traffic by carpooling to work or school.
Teach your children to respect the world, and it will be a better place for everyone!
National Soy Month
Soy has become a trendy food in today's food scene. Ten years ago, soy products were generally only available at health food markets or nutrition stores. Today, you can find soy products in your local supermarkets, and plenty of them! You can even find soy products at fast-food restaurants used in dishes like Impossible burgers — plant-based and delicious!
Soy is a subtropical plant native to Asia, where it has been a dietary staple for over 5,000 years. Soy was introduced to the United States in the 1800s, and soy cultivation began during World War ll.
During National Soy Month, try something new and tasty featuring soy products. Check out your local retailer and you will be surprised at how many new soy items are available in the marketplace. Take one step closer to a healthier lifestyle by incorporating more soy into your diet this month.