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Eat, Feast, and Be Merry

It’s the day after Halloween which means all hell will break loose in the holiday isles of your favorite grocery stores. But it’s for good reason; as the temperature drops and the days grow shorter, mammals of all shapes and sizes start fattening up to prepare for hibernation. This time of year humans also participate in a partial hibernation–that is the fattening up part. Halloween candy was just the beginning; now for the real weight gainers: Thanksgiving turkey, Rosh hashanah sliced apples, and king cake. Celebrating with food is commonplace around the world and autumn is chock full of feasting festivals. Here are a few that will surely make your mouth water.

Eid al-Adha
Abrahamic religions wouldn’t be complete without a good ol’ fashioned father-son sacrifice and Eid al-Adha is one of the few religious celebrations that is dedicated to just that. Eid al-Adha, celebrated throughout the Muslim world, honors the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. Today Eid al-Adha is truly a community celebration. Practicing Muslims slaughter an animal and share it with friends and family as well as those who cannot afford meat.

Since childhood, most of us have decorated turkeys carved from colorful paper, dressed as pilgrims in school plays, or created colorful (albeit slightly offensive) American indian headdresses. Contrary to popular belief, however, Thanksgiving is not solely celebrated in the United States, but also in our neighbor to the north, Canada. While the original story surrounding this national day of thanks has been distorted throughout the centuries, one things remains tride and true–turkey. Lots of turkey. Whether you stuff it full of cranberry dressing, oysters, or another animal (I’m looking at you turducken) Thanksgiving would not be such a food-lovin’-free-for-all without that healthy dose of tryptophan.

Rosh hashanah
Often known as the Jewish New Year, Rosh hashanah is thought to commemorate the creation of Adam and Eve. Like their apple-eating ancestors, it is tradition to eat apple slices dipped in honey and some feasts include a head of a fish to represent the beginning of the New Year. The main focus of the New Year is to make sure it is sweet. Packed with symbolism the fruits and vegetables served during Rosh hashanah each serve an important role in the celebration of the new year.

Dia de los Muertos
Remember your grandfather who liked to eat weird things like mayonnaise sandwiches or pickled pigs feet? Well if you are celebrating Dia de los Muertos you’re out of luck. One of the most common traditions in cultures that celebrate The Day of the Dead, as it’s known in English, is to prepare your deceased loved one’s favorite foods. If your dead relative’s choice confection doesn’t tickle your fancy you might try a skull formed out of sugar or chocolate. Although most commonly associated with Mexico, Dia de los Muertos has spread throughout the world including parts of South America and Africa.

Twelfth Night
Often confused with the Shakespearean comedy with the same name, this Christian holiday celebrates the end of the twelve days of Christmas. A King Cake is customary during the Feast of the Epiphany, as the feast of Twelfth Night is often called, and usually contains a pea, bean, or baby Jesus figurine (who doesn’t love a cake with hidden inedible objects??) Wassail has always been the drink of choice during Twelfth Night, with its origins dating back hundreds of years and although wassailing is now antiquated, perhaps, any winter now, a hipster will ring my doorbell and sing a carol for a hearty cup of wassail.

By Caroline Kellough


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