With it being Shrove Tuesday today, my thoughts – not unnaturally – have turned to food and drink. Obviously, today is technically a religious day, and many religions feature food and drink in their festivals. None more so than Judaism, I’d say.
One example is due in a matter of a week or two. That is the festival of Purim, and the eating of hamantaschen – Haman’s ears, or poppy-seed parcels – is closely associated with this. (Haman is the villain of the story.)
I don’t often conduct full religious ceremonies, but, every so often my services include some emphasis on food or drink. Perhaps that will give you an appetite (sorry!) to include something similar in your ceremony.
A very popular, simple ritual at a wedding can be the Loving Cup. In this case, a goblet of wine (or whatever drink the couple prefer) is prepared. Bride and groom will sip three times from the goblet, passing it to each other each time.
I ask them to drink to the love they’ve shared in the past. Next, to drink to their love in the present, on this their wedding day. And finally to drink to their love in the future and forever more.
On one memorable occasion the groom was extremely nervous. He took the invitation to ‘sip’ to mean ‘gulp’. The alcohol clearly went to his head and he became very relaxed and amusing for the rest of the ceremony!
Although this can only be relevant to a limited number of readers, a lovely ritual I have witnessed comes from Russia.
The bride’s mother bakes a large plaited loaf of bread. At the appointed time, both bride and groom start eating it – from the opposite ends. They take one bite each.
My role was to ask the guests to judge who took the bigger piece and I pointed out that whoever gets the bigger piece will be assured to be the head of the household! (I think the bride always wins!)
So, as you tuck into your pancakes, give some thought to the value of food and drink! If you want to talk to me about rituals, then feel free!
Photo: Matt Penberthy