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Holidays

How to Host a Sephardic Rosh Hashanah Seder

Some rice-loving people like to joke that they’re Sephardic during Passover, but really, we should all be Sephardic for Rosh Hashanah, too — as Ladino musician Sarah Aroeste proved to us in an enchanting musical Sephardic Rosh Hashanah activity this past Sunday.

During the Facebook Live event — which you can watch in its entirety, below — Sarah shared gorgeous Ladino Rosh Hashanah songs. These include Flory Jagoda’s “Chiko Ianiko” — “Little Ian,” about the sweet joy Jagoda found in making a mess in the kitchen with her son, and her own magical “Anyada Buena,” “Happy New Year,” in which Sarah teaches us beautiful words in Ladino.

Sarah also shared the different elements of the Sephardic Rosh Hashanah seder plate — the ocho simanim, the eight symbols on the plate — and the Yehi Ratsones, the blessing you say or sing before eating each of the foods on the plate.

There’s the apple, mansana in Ladino, for a good and sweet year; the leek, prasa in Ladino, for friendship and no enmity in the year to come. There’s spinach, spinaka in Ladino, for freedom from the things that hold us back. There’s dates, or datles, to help us feel part of a supportive community. There’s squash (kalavasa) which reminds us to count our blessings,  black-eyed peas (fijones) which offer a wish for prosperity in the coming year, and pomegranate (mangrana) for a wish that our good deeds will increase like the number of seeds in the fruit. Finally, there’s the fish head (peshkado), which you can trade for a head of lettuce, so that we may be at the forefront and be leaders by example. It’s all so beautiful!

And if that’s not enough, she shared a sweet Rosh Hashanah recipe — a sesame and honey treat your kids are sure to love that Sarah’s family calls susam, or sweet Sephardic biscochos — watch Sarah make them and share her recipe for our friends at The Nosher.

Anyada buena i dulse, everyone!

Header Image by logaryphmic/ Getty Images

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