Friday, May 1, 2009

Our Multicultural Easter

I know what you're thinking: You guys are raising your kids Jewish! Why the heck are you celebrating Easter???

(Actually, what you're probably thinking is: It's freakin' May already! Why the heck are you posting about Easter now??? But I'm going to pretend that you're thinking the first thing.)

Well, we started out the morning as many Jewish families do when Easter happens to fall in the middle of Passover: we ate matzo for breakfast. Again. Maybe we wouldn't have been so sick of it if Keri hadn't started buying it three months before Passover, because back then it seemed like a treat. By the time Passover actually rolled around, the seasonal excitement of eating matzo with cream cheese had definitely peaked.

Later that morning, we loaded up the big green van and headed out to Northeast Philadelphia to celebrate Thai New Year with Oat and her friends at a Thai temple complex. The kids got to see gold Buddhas, and monks in orange robes, and sample the incredible free buffet of donated Thai food (and, inexplicably, a tray of spaghetti and meat sauce). Unfortunately, the festivities mostly took place outdoors, and it was only about 50 degrees outside, so the kids especially were pretty chilly.

That failed to diminish their enthusiasm, however, when we headed over to our friends (and former housemates) Patrick and Rhea's home for an Easter egg hunt. This was the first egg hunt for my kids, but they caught on quickly. I thought Rhea had a clever strategy to deal with the broad age range (and scavenging ability) of the hunters: she hid eggs in different parts of her yard for the different age groups. The eggs for Aaron, Gretchen and Ronan were prominently placed in conspicuous locations. The ones for the intermediate group were slightly more obscured, and the ones for the older girls were shoved way back under a pricker bush, submerged in a drainage ditch and tucked into an abandoned bird's nest fifteen feet off the ground. But the kids found every last egg.

I suspect that, between the matzo, the monks and the eggs, we succeeded in covering the bases, religiously speaking.

But more than that, I love how many different cultural influences are kids are exposed to in our house alone. Matty is Irish. Oat is Thai. Marina and Iza (our housekeeper) are Georgian. Aaron is learning to eat with chopsticks, Erika sings Georgian lullabies, and Declan can let us know exactly who, or what, is giving him "the pip." From a very young age, our kids understand what a big world we live in. Unfortunately, Gretchen still believes it revolves around her, but we're working on that.


DakotaSioux said...

I've been reading your blog for a while, and definitely enjoy it, but I can't figure out who's Jewish and who's not. Do y'all keep all Jewish traditions and were you raised that way?

Just a curious reader.


Amy said...

Keri, Andy and I were raised Jewish - Matty, who grew up in Ireland, is not. But all the kids are Jewish, and since they go to (or did go, when they were younger) a Jewish preschool/kindergarten, they're well versed in traditions. We follow the major ones, generally revolving around the holidays - although we do occasionally make a big Shabbat dinner, for which Keri bakes the best challah ever.