I have in my possession one 10 lb goose, who I’ve named Mrs. Honkington. Mrs. Honkington is quite dead and more than a little cold to the touch. Out of all of my worldly possessions, this slab of frozen goose is my most valuable.
Once I purchase the ingredients for the chestnut stuffing, those will run a close second to the christened poultry.
From mid November until January first, I feel in my element. It’s not the recognition of pilgrims, or the rituals surrounding religious festivities that comfort me in this season. Rather, it’s the ideal of sharing of experiences and the communication of these communal activities through food. It is food that primarily binds this season together, regardless of culture, regardless of religious tradition. What started this all?
The birth of the sun god Mithra was observed and celebrated on December 25th. Being the “Sun God” in Persia, it makes sense that he was reborn on the shortest day of the year. The Romans, never the most creative folk when creating their gods and goddesses, took the myths surrounding the Persian god and made him their own. The Parties celebrating Mithra soon followed.
Other peoples in northern Europe also observed mid-winter harvest festivals, usually around the winter solstice. Other folks celebrated St Lucy’s Day, Saturnalia, Yule and Twelfth Night. What are some of the common factors amongst these days? Feasting and drinking. The food is the thing.
So as the holiday season is in full swing, I have no problem in following the traditions that go back thousands of years. Feasting with loved ones is a chance to remind myself what is important, and to celebrate that I’ve survived, enjoyed, and endured another year and I’m still standing.
Standing, but soon to be sitting, enjoying a plate full of roasted goose, and sharing that moment with loved ones.
Happy Holidays to all!