Argentina, a picturesque country located in South America is enclosed by Andes Mountains on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. As Argentina has a dense Jewish population, the festive season of Pesach is jubilated by following the traditions and rituals related to the festival. For Jews, Passover or Pesach is one of the most popular festivals. It is associated with the migration of Hebrew slaves (Israelites) from Egypt after generations of slavery under the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh! The festival is observed on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan, which falls either in March or April based on the Gregorian calendar. Though this festival occurs in spring in the Northern Hemisphere, Argentina celebrates this occasion in the autumn season as it is situated in southern hemisphere. The Seder meal includes matzoh balls, lettuce salad, roasted chicken, gefilte fish and several other such appetizing dishes. Read on to know more on how Passover is commemorated in Argentina.
Pesach Celebrations In Argentina
The Arrival Of The Jews In Argentina
In Latin America, the largest concentration of Jewish population is found in Buenos Aires. Argentina itself has the seventh-largest Jewish inhabitants in the world - 206,000 approximately. Though 15 percent of Jews are Sephardic from Turkey, Syria, and North Africa, most of the Jews came fleeing from Russia. Although Argentina is not known as a nation with a significant Jewish culture, Buenos Aires alone is a residence to 56 synagogues - out of which 50 are Orthodox, 5 are Conservative and one is Reform. Passover is celebrated with grand euphoria and cheerfulness in Argentina. In fact, this holy festival is marked as an important event in Argentina's social calendar. Even in Argentina, Passover is celebrated with all the traditions and customs which are intact in this holy Jewish festival.
Festival Occurs In The Fall
Although the festival comes in the fall in Argentina, the celebrations are similar to the ones which are celebrated in Northern Hemisphere like in the United States. The eight-day holiday is equally imperative for the 'gaucho judios' in the pampas! Jews in Argentina try to gather at one place and become a part of Seder meal with great reverence.
The preparations begin while keeping in mind the honorable Seder Meal. The main ingredient for the Seder meal is the Matzoh- The Unleavened Bread (bread baked without yeast), which is consumed as the customary food during the festive days of Passover. Along with this, the meal includes a special delicacy known as 'albondigas de papas', avocado and lettuce salad, Kishke (dish of intestines stuffed with eggs, potatoes, matzoh meal, chicken fat and spices), roasted chicken, chicken soup with matzoh balls, etc.
Unlike the North Americans, who choose from store-bought staples such as roasted chicken, gefilte fish with horseradish, chicken soup with matzoh balls, the Argentineans prefer to prepare the entire Passover dishes at home from the scratch. To add icing to the cake, in Argentina, Seder meal is a hodgepodge of Latin cooking, European customs, native and gaucho traditions and seasonal ingredients, that makes the entire Seder meal very delicious.
A lot of care is taken in preparing Passover delicacies in Argentina. Even small intricacies are taken into consideration while preparing food for the Seder meal. Gefilte Fish and Chicken Soup With matzoh Balls (Bombitas de Harina de Matza) are staples during Argentina Passover. For instance, even the gefilte fish is prepared by grinding carp, whitefish and pike with hands. Even products like vinegar and oil, which are used during cooking, are 'kosher' for the Passover festival. Adding a cup of chopped, cooked spinach to matzoh balls is another amazing Argentinean way of celebrating Passover. Hence, the Pesach festival in Argentina is filled with a variety of delicacies and lots of gaiety and cheerfulness.
Just like many other aspects in the busy lifestyle of modern people, a transition can be seen during Passover celebrations in Argentina. For instance, during Passover the young generation is transiting more and more towards market-bought ingredients instead of cooking the entire Seder meal at home. While the old-timers still prefer to make homemade Seder dishes, despite the fact that these dishes require substantial cooking time.
Argentina is a significant abode for Passover observers. Read the following article to explore Argentinean way of commending Passover!