All In The Family
Living in Portugal and not being a person of religious conviction, it’s still not difficult to get into the spirit of the Easter holiday. Being immersed in the culture, it’s quite easy, even enjoyable, to partake in the gathering of family to celebrate together. Portuguese immigrants flock home by the thousands from all over the world, as they do at Christmas, to be with family and friends, even if just for a few days, gathering at the table, sharing the traditional goodies and enjoying one another’s company, (in my view, the most positive aspect of times of year such as this).
Due to the Covid mood, people are still somewhat subdued, but, this weekend, at least for a couple of days, all will be concentrated on the festivities at hand. The gathering of people we love, at a table filled with everyone’s favourite dishes, what’s there not to love about the idea? We need even more good excuses to bring us together on occasion. These days, we’re all so duty-bound to our daily chores that even a seemingly simple thing as sharing a meal with family, even friends, has become, arguably, in many parts of the world, something that requires planning ahead of time. Governments across the globe could consider coming up with a plan to implement a monthly family gathering, call it “just being together day” and make it a long weekend. I know business won’t likely get behind the idea, but it could reduce stress, enable the resolution of problems in families due to lack of familiarity, it might even promote more cooperation between family members and friends. Sharing a meal is and always has been a great way to connect. We don’t talk any longer. People have become estranged and these holidays promote harmony and togetherness, positive messages whether or not you’re a person of faith. Of course, these times of year are difficult for those that, for whatever reason, are left watching from the sidelines. Why not make it a habit of welcoming such people into our circle, even if only at these times of year.
Not only do we need to get to know our family members better, but getting to know strangers can teach us a lot about ourselves. A good example of this are the positive stories about the fostering of refugee families, the latest being our brothers and sisters fleeing the Ukraine. Many lifetime relationships are being forged as we speak. Unfortunately, the circumstances under which these new friendships are being fostered could not be worse, but, once the fog lifts, at least many will have something positive to remember. Who knows, someday the tables might be turned and may be us who are in need of a helping hand. These things don’t just happen to others.
So yeah, let’s all celebrate Easter, Pesach, Just Being Together. Any excuse to share, laugh, eat, respect, familiarize and love, as long as we’re gathered. Our greatest strength.
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