Or at least that’s what my mom called it this morning, and since she’s one of our resident religious experts around here, I’ll take it.

It’s Easter morning, and I am looking forward to spending the day with both my own parents and my husband’s. That may not seem like anything out of the ordinary for most people, but for me, it’s special. My husband is Jewish, and we have spent the past two years learning much about each other’s traditions. There have been some misunderstandings, mostly involving Christmas trees and cereal, but otherwise it has been a relatively smooth and educational process.

It helps a lot that neither of us is very doctrinaire with respect to our religion. Having been raised by two religious scholars, I have always been more concerned with spirituality itself rather than which particular form it takes. There were a few years in high school when I decided to become a regular church-goer, but that was more because the guys at the youth group were totally cute. But hey, it kept me away from partying and gave me a sense of belonging during an otherwise unfounded time in my life, so it wasn’t all bad. At least until I went to college, and then all bets were off. But that’s another story.

My husband was raised with a much more defined sense of religious tradition, and he and his family still observe Shabbat dinner, Yom Kippur, Passover, etc. To his immense credit though, he has never asked that I participate in or observe any of the above, simply that I accompany him and be present with his family during their observance. I have done so happily, being the eternally curious creature that I am, and only occasionally do I feel like an outsider. (See my Hanukkah post for more on that topic.)

What is it that has allowed us to stay together despite what some may consider irreconcilable differences in faith? I am sure many people would find that to be a deal breaker. Indeed, my own dear husband has confessed that if he hadn’t mistakenly believed that I was Jewish (though no pretense of mine, I swear!) while we were getting to know each other, he would’ve thought twice about dating me. Good thing I deceived him, however unwittingly.

But that was two years ago, and much has passed under the bridge since then. We have stood by hospital beds on both sides of the family, spent Hanukkah and Christmas with each other, survived through his fasting on Yom Kippur while in Croatia (now that was a tough one!), and celebrated our marriage following his traditions… with a little nod to my own thrown in with a blessing from my dad, including a round of “Om shanti om” in acknowledgment of my Indian roots.

Frankly, the toughest conflict to overcome so far has been on Thanksgiving, which is the one holiday our families have in common. Otherwise, all our holidays are like today — we can all go to my family’s house, because for his, it is a Sunday like any other. And next month, I can spend both seder dinners with his family, because I am not obliged to be with my own.

The key here is family. That is the one thing all of our respective celebrations have in common, as we are both families junkies and basically view any holiday as an excuse to get a fix. We both hold family sacred above all else, which enables us to come together and celebrate no matter what the occasion. Christmas at your parents’ house? Sure! Passover at your aunt’s? Bring it on!

For both myself and my husband, religion equals family. So even though we were raised speaking different dialects, for us it is still the same language. True, we have some misinterpretations now and again, but for the most part we manage to communicate extremely well. Thus I am looking forward to spending Easter, or Spring Festival, or whatever you want to call it, with all of my family, new and old.

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