Thursday, April 9, 2009

recessionista party tips: $5 coupon from Party Packagers

I am a coupon queen. I love to print out money saving deals or clip them from print ads. I received this one in my email inbox a few days ago from one of my go-to party stores, Party Packagers.
Party Packagers has toys, candy, balloons, favours, d├ęcor items and gifts galore. Sometimes I find that their stuff is a little overpriced, and sometimes I find amazing deals. I guess it depends on the location and the time of year. They do have things that I don't see anywhere else though, and I enjoy just perusing the aisles and getting inspired.

So click here for the ad and a $5 coupon when you spend $25 or more. Have fun finding fabulous party supplies!


party phD: Passover

Photo Credit: Alan

Passover is a Jewish and Samaritan festival and Holy day commemorating God mercifully sparing the Hebrews when the tenth plague killed every firstborn son in Egypt [Exodus]. The Bible says that God inflicted ten plagues upon the Egyptians before Pharaoh would release his Israelite slaves. The Hebrews were instructed to mark their homes with the blood of a lamb and, upon seeing this, the Angel of Death passed over them. When Pharaoh freed the Hebrew slaves, it is said that they left in such a hurry that they could not wait for their bread to rise. In commemoration, no leavened bread is eaten for the duration of Passover, also earning it the name "The Festival of the Unleavened Bread". Matza, unleavened bread [also called Matzo], is the primary symbol of the holiday.

Passover begins on the 15th day of the month of Nisan [March/April in the Gregorian calendar], the first month of the Hebrew calendar's festival year. In 2009, Passover spans from April 9-16. In Israel, Passover is the seven-day holiday of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, with the first and last days observed as legal holidays and as holy days involving abstention from work, special prayer services and holiday meals.

The Seder
A large part of the Passover celebration involves a feast called the Seder. In Hebrew, Seder means 'arrangement' or 'order'. The Seder is held on the first and sometimes second night of Passover. The Seder is all about tradition and family ritual and is a key component of Jewish religious and cultural identity. Families gather at the table to read one of the Haggadah, the story of the Israelite exodus from Egypt. Seder customs include drinking of four cups of wine, eating matza and partaking of symbolic foods placed on the Passover Seder Plate.

The Seder Plate
The Seder Plate ["ke'ara"] is a plate with symbolic food arranged in a special way. Each item symbolizes a part of the story of Exodus.

Three matzot are placed on top of each other on a plate or napkin, and then covered.
The matzot are symbolic of the three castes of Jews: Priests, Levites, and Israelites.

The following items are placed on a cloth or plate placed above the three matzot:
  • The Shankbone ["z'roa", symbolizing the lamb sacrifice]
  • The Egg ["Beitzah", symbolizing the festival sacrifice]
  • The Bitter Herbs ["Maror" and "Chazeret", symbolizing the harshness Jews endured while enslaved to the Egyptians]
  • The Mixture ["Charoset;", symbolizing the mortar used by the Jewish slaves while building]
  • The Vegetable ["Karpas" which is dipped in saltwater. The saltwater represents the tears shed by the Jews during their enslavement]
Passover is full of amazing imagery, tradition and history. There are many steps to the Passover Seder, including blessings, ritual asking of questions, and the order in which food and wine is consumed.

President Obama added a second-night seder to his official schedule, to be observed April 9, 2009. This is the first time that a sitting president is known to have hosted, and observed, a seder at the White House.

Do you celebrate Passover?

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