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Lots of Drinking

March 4, 2015

Happy Purim. A couple years ago I wrote a synopsis of the holiday in a charming little post called Eat His Ears. I’ll spare you the rehash, and if you are interested why you may see kids running around town today dressed in costume delivering boxes of cookies door to door, just know that the answers can be found in the link above.

I do get a kick out of the fact that this holiday is like a reverse Halloween.

Tonight, I’m off to temple. Again. It does really feel like I’m always there. But it’s not a bad thing to have an excuse to trek out to Schenectady. Although this year Dinosaur Bar-B-Que will be providing the food. Presumably, we won’t be getting the pulled pork or the ribs. There is a barbecue place I want to try in Schenectady, but that’s another story.

The thing I wanted to talk about today isn’t my own cultural heritage, but rather those marvelous times when a bunch of cultures converge around a brilliant idea. You know, like the winter solstice. Everyone agrees that December is the time for lighting lights. The days are shorter and the nights are a lot longer. So you light up a Christmas tree, if you’re Hindu you may stoke the Lohri bonfire (after getting a jump on the season with Diwali), and we kindle the Chanukah candles.

There’s another cultural consensus around March.

Purim turns out to be a drinking holiday. So is Mardi Gras. And the season ends with St. Patrick’s Day, which has been known to create a bit of a stir in these parts.

Much like we all need the lights of December to get us through the darkness. March has its own kind of darkness. It’s the winter that just won’t end. The snow that won’t melt. The warmth that feels like it’s never going to come. And instead of the lengthening days bringing joy or comfort, they are just a mockery when unaccompanied by the warming breezes of spring.

So in March, I guess we need booze to help get through it.

We’ve made it through the worst of winter. If the cold hasn’t killed us by now, we’re likely going to live to see the spring. That has to be worthy of at least some kind of celebration.

Actually, it reminds me of the theme to pretty much all the Jewish holidays: they tried to kill us, we survived, let’s eat. Except in March when we are supposed to get so drunk that we cannot distinguish between the name “Mordechai” and the name “Haman”.

The casual observer can surely tell that that would have to be pretty darn drunk.

Me? I’ve got to drive all the way to Schenectady. Regrettably that means my religious obligation will have to be curtailed a bit. I’m hoping that I can get drunk on barbecue, if not on slivovitz. That, incidentally, is an Eastern European plum brandy I happen to kind of enjoy. Most people hate it like they hate grappa, but I like grappa too. Maybe I can pick up a bottle of something later today for after I get the kids safely home and in bed.

Tonight I plan to nosh on some extra pieces of burnished chicken skin as I celebrate our survival, both historical and the metaphorical. Winter will end. Spring will come. Some have said that the existence of booze is proof that God loves us. The same can probably be applied to chicken skin.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 4, 2015 10:59 am

    Wait a minute. Don’t the days get longer during Diwali, since it’s mainly celebrated in the Southern Hemisphere?

    I’m not up on Lohri, but suspect the same may hold true.

    • Jack C permalink
      March 4, 2015 6:22 pm

      India is in the Northern Hemisphere.

  2. March 4, 2015 10:52 pm

    F*ck, you’re right, who knew? (Profusser, these are all questions.)

  3. EPT permalink
    March 6, 2015 9:45 pm

    I thought I was the only one who loved nicely roasted chicken skin. When chicken thighs are on sale, I’ll skin them stretch the skin out on a sheet pan and bake until a nice golden brown and crispy, yum! BTW, I’m a big grappa fan and also like slivovitz. When we were in Budapest you could get many different flavored eau de vie.

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