The first weekend of April reunites families and communities all over the world. Doesn’t matter if you celebrate Eastern or Pesach, last weekend most of us shared a nice meal with our families.
Back home, an almost in every country, the first two nights of Passover are the ones we tend to get together with family and friends to celebrate the freedom of our people. Our traditions and costumes remain in almost every home I know but some differences are easily distinguished. This was the first time I spent Passover without my parents or first cousins, and of course not in Argentina, but I must say it had it’s own charming characteristics.
On Friday evening, my brother and I decided to attend the Seder of the Hillel community that was taking place in Marvin Center. After a last minute call, and if adding two persons to a dinner were too easy, they openly accepted our request of joining them for the first night of Passover. When we finally arrived, some faces were too familiar and people that I share classes with received me with a warm Jag Sameaj (Happy Holiday) Before the seder began, we sat in a table with 5 different people that lately that night were going to became our friends. The Rabbi made the whole Seder an interesting and not boring celebration. Trying to analyze some topics that were also related to modern times plus the melodies sang or recited by each table (we were almost 100 people) made the ceremony absolutely pleasant. After some laughs, good food and religious traditions, my first day without flour made me go to sleep with a huge smile in my face.
The next day my brother and I travelled to my relative’s house near Gaithersburg. This second dinner was not only special because I was with family but also because I got the chance to spend it with the Patriarch of my family, the one that would not hesitate in explaining to me the history and complicated family tree that I have. As if everything happened yesterday, he can totally remember every dialog, trip and connection that started with his grandmother and my great great-grandfather. After listening to him and having just the idea of every problem that my ancestors had to overcome, makes me realize how lucky we are of having the power of communication on our side.
Apart from that, another wonderful thing made me happy that night; my aunt, who is an artist, did a painting of me and gave it to me as a present. I was not the youngest one and I didn’t look for the Afikoman (another tradition we have) but I was at that point the kid that received a gift. I couldn’t be happier, it was a fantastic surprise and I can’t wait to have the fantastic painting in my room.
The food that my cousin prepared was also fantastic and I was finally eating this typical Jewish homemade food that made me feel at home. We did the brajot, sang some of our traditional songs and read the interpretation of each of those. Even if we were a modern family that read the Hagada from an Ipad, we remembered the most important question/answer of this special festivity: Why is this night different from any other night? Freedom, that is what we celebrate this week. Freedom.
The night ended with a nice talk about each other’s near future and recent changes in our lives, with the dog’s ability to lock herself inside a room and the invitation to meet again the following week.
Last Saturday I also went to Spring Fling with my friends. Free tickets for a show, The Mechanic Shark, Sno-Kones, stickers and shiny tattoos were some of the attractions of that day. This festival organized by members of the University was not only an afternoon full of games and prizes but also full of music, famous DJ’s and food; perfect to celebrate with friends. The U Yard was surrounded of students playing the roulette or even uploading selfies to win special gifts. In my case, implied a Domino’s large pizza that I’ll happily eat to break my no-flour week. Also, Saturday was a really warm day that reminded us the main reason why we where there: Spring. I believe most people was not as happy to receive the flowers, the green grass or the allergies as much as they were of saying goodbye to the snow, the storm and the freezing cold weather. If you think it that way, then yes, celebrate the change of seasons with your friends has never been better.