Next, some apologies: This post may be a bit disjointed. I injured my hand, so I'll be doing this in pieces. Also, I know that different cultures celebrate spring at different times (as early as February and as late as mid-May). I've missed many of them in this post, I'm sure. And I'm sorry about that. I'm doing what I can.
Let's start with Ostara, which is on 20th March this year. Ostara is celebrated on the Vernal Equinox. It is the celebration of spring itself (various stories exist to explain the changing of the seasons, too much to get into here). Obviously, since most of the Easter symbolism derives from Pagan customs, anything under the "Easter" heading also applies. But I wanted to add a few more Ostara-specific links. Here are some craft ideas. And a list of links for Ostara crafts, cards, etc. Here are a few Veg*n recipes. And a few more Vegetarian recipes (only the dandelion wine would be Vegan). And a few more recipes (this one has a recipe for lamb, sorry. Also, the curried eggs have chicken broth....which could easily be subbed). And finally (again, check "Easter" below for more), what would spring be without candied flowers?
While we in the northern hemisphere celebrate Ostara, those in the southern are celebrating Mabon. Here are a few Mabon crafts. And some decorating ideas. Some Veg*n recipes can be found here and here.
Holi is a Hindu spring festival. From what I've gathered, it runs two days and starts on the 23rd March this year (if I'm wrong, I'm sorry. Please comment politely to let me know). It is known as the Festival of Colours. And one of the most fun (in my mind anyway) aspects of this is the "throwing of colours". Though it is kicked off with a bonfire party the night before. Let me get back to the colours. People literally throw coloured powders and liquids onto one another in the streets. How fun is that?!!? You can buy these colours, but why not make them yourself out of natural ingredients? Here are a few festive decorating ideas for your home. And here are some Veg*n recipes, for the get-togethers later in the evening (I plan to try some of these, they look very yummilicious. lol). There are two types of drink that are traditional at Holi. Let's start with Thandai (which appear to be nut and/or seed based drinks). The more popular for obvious reasons is Bhang (I'm sharing this link for educational purposes. If you're in an area where marijuana is illegal, please do not make Bhang. I'd hate to have my readers get arrested!).
Next, we have Purim. A Jewish holiday which begins at sundown on 23rd March this year (Again, if I'm wrong, I'm sorry. Please comment politely to let me know). This is a celebration in honor of Queen Esther, who saved the Jewish people from extinction. There are public and private prayers said. Donations are made to charity. Costumes are worn. Gifts called Mishloach Manot are assembled and given. And (of course) a feast is made. Let's start with some homemade decorations. Some costumes you can make. And 20 creative Mishloach Manot themes. Here are a couple recipes (the author appears to have Veganized them, not really giving specific subs in the case of the cake). Here's a Vegetarian buffet (let me add that those roll-ups sound REALLY good). An interesting article entitled "Celebrate Purim With A Vegetarian Seudah". And finally, Vegan recipes ranging from Matzo soup to Hamantaschen!
And then comes Easter. This year, Easter falls on 27th March. As for why it varies from year to year? Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the Vernal Equinox...a very Pagan way to mark time, if you ask me. Anyway, this Christian celebration is one of the most widely covered on the internet, and therefore I was was able to find many links. One of the most well-known symbols of Easter is the egg. The egg has always been considered a symbol of rebirth, so it's not hard to see how it would become associated with a demigod who rose from the dead (the other main symbol - the rabbit - is a sign of fertility. What that has to do with Easter, I'll never know). There are so many ways to decorate eggs! Here are 7 ideas. Here are a bunch more ideas (ranging from Minions to superheroes to glow-in-the-dark. There IS an "egg" made of gelatin, sorry [You could try Vegan flavoured jels, though they come in fewer flavours]). Some instructions on making natural egg dyes (because who really knows what's in those colours?). What if you're Vegan? Here are 6 options (sorry, none are edible). And here are some faux eggs that are painted to look like a galaxy!
Here are some Easter crafts (aside from the eggs mentioned above). And FIFTY decorating and craft ideas!
On to food. After all, food is one of the main focuses of pretty much every holiday. And Easter has traditions. Getting back to the ubiquitous egg...here's a recipe for deviled eggs, AND a Vegan deviled egg recipe! Easter brunch is very common (and I'll be getting to a bunch of recipes momentarily), but often centered around eggs. Well, here's a Vegan quiche, and a Vegan "egg" casserole. Here are a bunch of Vegetarian (and some Vegan) recipes for brunch (including egg-based quiches and casseroles) and dinner. And 25 Vegan recipes (like carrot cake waffles, chocolate cinnamon bread, and a seitan/mushroom loaf). Of course, traditionally at Easter (and Ostara, of course), either lamb or ham is served for dinner. Here's a seitan "lamb" recipe (when I made it before, I did so a day ahead and left it in cooking liquid, then cut into "chops" and breaded them for frying). As for Vegetarian "ham", I shared several places you can buy them in my December Holidays blog. Or just make your own out of seitan or tofu. I never thought I'd share anything from Fox "News", but this asparagus champagne risotto would make a wonderful side dish! As for sweets, who could resist hot cross buns (I sub raisins instead of currants) or a Vegan carrot cake?
Before leaving Easter (see, I told you it was a lot!), let's deal with Easter baskets. You could buy a cheap dollar store basket. Or have fun making one of these wonderfully creative baskets and bags. And why buy that plastic "grass" that just piles up in the landfill (and gets everywhere in your home...) when you could make Easter "grass" out of paper? You COULD buy candy (and I will have some links for Veg*n options later). But making your own is fun, customizable, and you know what's in them. Here are 20 homemade candies (I haven't viewed each one, but I can tell you some use marshmallows. If you don't eat gelatin, simply get one of the Vegan marshmallows available [I buy Dandies at Whole Foods]). Homemade jelly beans mean you can make any flavour you can think of (the recipe has unflavoured gelatin, feel free to sub a Vegan jel or agar-agar). Reeses peanut butter eggs are very popular. Well, now you can make them yourself (and here's a Vegan version). Also popular (heaven only knows why) is the Cadbury creme egg. Here's a copycat recipe and a Vegan copycat. And then there are Peeps. Nobody actually likes them, but just like fruitcake in December, everyone wants them. Well, here's a recipe to make Peeps (Vegan). What if you're culinarily challenged? Though they're NOT cheap, you can buy gelatin-free peeps and beeswax-free jelly beans (yes, really). Looking for Vegan creme eggs, bunnies, lollies, etc? Check out Premium Chocolatiers. Mama Ganache has Vegan chocolate bunnies, eggs, truffles, etc. They even sell pre-made baskets. Again, they're not necessarily cheap, but if your child is Vegan or lactose intolerant, they could save your holiday. Here's a list of "Accidentally Vegan" candy you could also add to the basket, even though they're not Easter-specific. Regardless of whether you buy special Vegan candies, cheap dollar store stuff, or use homemade treats, don't forget to add a few small toys! :-)
I'm going to finish this with the Jewish holiday of Passover. Why? Because 1) this post is already over-long and 2) I don't know enough about the other spring holidays (and with the hand, my research would be limited). So....
Passover is a festival lasting 7-8 days (depending on whether you're Reform or Orthodox, etc). This year, it begins at sundown on 22nd April (once more, if I'm wrong, I'm sorry. Please comment politely to let me know). Very basically, Passover commemorates the freeing of the Jews from Egypt. God commanded angels to slay the first born son of every Egyptian home, passing over (get it?) those whose door posts were smeared with lambs' blood. As you can imagine, lamb plays a big role in the traditional celebration. But that doesn't mean that Veg*ns can't enjoy the holiday! Here are "Vegetarian Passover and Seder Recipes (With Vegan Options)". Here are some Vegan recipes (ranging from mock chopped "liver" to eggless Matzo balls. PLUS a Vegan Seder Plate idea). Since I brought it up, here are "15 DIY Passover Seder Plates Your Kids Will Love To Make" (a couple do use real bones and eggs, but most are crafts that would last from year to year). Some Passover entertaining ideas from Martha Stewart. And a couple more cute Passover crafts.
Well, that's all for now. Again, sorry if this post has jumped a bit, but it was done over time.
Until next time, happy spring!