We at AntiquityNOW are always on the prowl for ancient and modern connections that prove the past is never really behind us. So it is the case with food and the many different cuisines that have stood the test of time.
It’s Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, a holiday of remembrance and a symbol of Jewish identity, history, resistance and freedom. Celebrated around the world, the holiday also has its own cultural variations, especially in foods.
Today we’re bringing you once again a recipe for a traditional Sephardic Hanukkah food, sfenj. This yeast doughnut, often dipped in sugar or honey, originated with Sephardic Jews, particularly those who trace their roots back to Morocco. The “Moroccan doughnut” is often eaten for Hanukkah for a very special reason: Sfenj are fried in oil, which commemorates the Hanukkah miracle where the oil that was supposed to light the lamp in the Temple in Jerusalem for one day endured for eight.
Sfenj are a delectable way of celebrating the miracle of this Jewish holiday. Whatever our background or religion, doughnut lovers can learn more about sfenj and enjoy making this festive recipe here.
Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, a month of prayer and fasting, began last week and ends on July 5th. If you are observing Ramadan, you know that planning the Iftar and Suhur meals is key. While Ramadan has ancient roots, today many households are mixing their modern habits into the month. Health is a top priority for many families. Perhaps this year you’re trying to be a bit healthier in your observance and plan meals that are delicious and nutritious. It is important for these meals to provide all of the nutrition you need for the long days of fasting. For a list of healthy ideas, check out Nestle Family’s Healthy Ramadan Recipes.
And for a history of Ramadan as well as some ancient ingredients and recipes, look no further than our AntiquityNOW Ramadan posts below. Don’t miss the bonus post about the ways in which professional athletes observe Ramadan.
An Oracle Turtle Shell. Tortoise plastron with divination inscription from the Shang dynasty, dating to the reign of King Wu Ding. Held at the National Museum of China in Beijing.
In Part 1 of The Believing of Seeing, we examined the Oracle of Delphi and its importance in the ancient world. Today we meet a modern day psychic who shares with us her own insights into her gift of foresight.
Jeannie Reed is a professional psychic with an international clientele. For thirty years she has practiced her craft. She believes that each of us has psychic ability that only needs to be nurtured and developed to be realized. Below she describes her awakening as a professional reader and the evolution of her ability to see what others cannot. Continue reading →
Priestess of Delphi (1891), as imagined by John Collier; the Pythia is inspired by pneuma rising from below as she sits on a tripod.
This time of year we love to explore all things unexplainable. But while Halloween has become a marketer’s dream, the spirits and forces that we mimic and parody in costumes and lawn ornaments are the stuff that defined ancient lives. Fear of the unknown, obeisance to light and dark forces and importunities to celestial powers were all seminal to the rise and fall of cultures around the world. For this reason, those individuals who had prescient powers were held in particularly high regard. The Oracle of Delphi in ancient Greece is perhaps one of the most famous of these ancient seers. Continue reading →
The Financial Times’ recent article, “Is It Time to Rethink Our Ideas About Preserving World Heritage?” by Jonathan Foyle, explores whether in the face of the ongoing destruction of cultural heritage from natural disasters and “human aggression, theft and errors of judgment,” new ways of preserving our heritage should be sought. Continue reading →
Wojapi is a traditional Native American dish that has been enjoyed for centuries. We give you fair warning that once you’ve had your first taste of wojapi, you won’t be able to put down the spoon.
Wojapi has been made by Native American tribes for centuries, with each generation passing the recipe down through the family. It is created with a combination of wild berries that can be found growing on the Great Plains, corn flour and honey. One of the favored berries for the recipe is the chokecherry. Used extensively by the North American Native tribes, the chokeberries were ground up, including the stones, and used in soups, stews, pemmican and even with salmon or salmon eggs. (Speaking of pemmican, check out our blog post and recipe for this ancient dried meat jerky.) The bark and even the roots of the chokecherry trees were used in medicines to treat a host of illnesses.Continue reading →
We see them on the big screen, bashing about aliens and each other, ruling over fantastical worlds and wielding extraordinary weapons. Their hair is perfect, muscles rippled and jaw chiseled. While Anthony Hopkins, Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston do a remarkable job of portraying the Norse gods Odin, Thor and Loki, it is likely few moviegoers are aware these are not just superheroes, sprung from the mind of a talented writer. These are important figures in an ancient religion. And now, after thousands of years, the Norse gods are getting a brand new temple, the first since the Viking age. Before we explore this new phase of the Norse religion, let’s venture into its past and find out how it all began. Continue reading →
May Day was last Friday, but it’s not too late to celebrate the fresh and breezy month of May and the ushering in of a warm and beautiful spring! The Celts loved the change in seasons and they celebrated with the Beltane festival. There was plenty of food and drink, of course. But like other ancient cultures, the seasonal festival reflected the Celts’ deep spiritual intertwining with the natural world around them. Continue reading →
Trees have always been awe-inspiring, even to our earliest ancestors. Trees can hold a poetic beauty as they sway in the breeze, musical tones fluttering from their leaves, colors riotously changing with the season. They are hallmarks of our holidays. They are the chroniclers of time, capturing in a ringed litany the ebb and wane of the world in which they are rooted. Trees protect, offer food, preserve the soil and provide resources. Indeed, one of their earliest representations illustrates the importance of trees to cultures through the ages: Continue reading →
Whether you’re celebrating a religious holiday or vying to win the egg hunt, it’s important to know where our holidays come from and how ancient are the roots that bind us all together. Below you’ll find our previous posts about the history of Easter, its origins and its traditions.
Also, we’ve included two delicious recipes for Passover, which begins tomorrow and ends next Saturday, April 11th.
And, for a bit of fun, check out this beautiful slideshow of Easter eggs around the world, courtesy of the The Huffington Post.