Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is either the first holiday of the fall season or the last holiday of summer, according to your calendar of entertaining. By any calendar the Labor Day week end is a time for hospitality. In some families it is the time for a cookout with the children, or a bicycle picnic. In town, Labor Day may be the occasion for friends coming back from Europe and the country and other vacation places to get together to catch up on the summer’s news.
In place of this kind of luncheon, the family may be feeding the school orchestra after its morning’s duties. Either playroom or backyard barbecue service will please these teen-agers. A favorite menu consists of hamburgers on toasted buns, milk drinks made in the electric mixer (red-white-and-blue sipper straws for these), and ice cream sundaes. Fixings for the sundaes, in bowls on a tray each with its own spoon, should be chocolate and butterscotch syrups, chopped nuts, whipped cream, maraschino cherries. Consult the band member of your family on whether a big layer cake or cupcakes or cookies is preferred with the sundaes. The proper oblong sundae dishes could be bought or borrowed from a soda fountain for the party. These are a good investment in a teen-age household.
Tray Luncheon is popular for this sort of semi-official entertaining, since it is easily served and its informality creates just the atmosphere needed. A tray luncheon can be decorative as well as delicious. Matching Italian papier-mache trays, rattan trays, or brightly lacquered Japanese trays, or a set made in the school carpentery shop add interest to the party. So do novelty stainless steel knives and forks with colored plastic or wooden handles in place of your best silver.
A tray luncheon also gives you free reign in the matter of napkins, anything from large flower-printed paper napkins to fringed cotton or embroidered and hemstitched dinner-size linen. They should harmonize with the tray, however. Embroidered linen goes with the rococo Italian trays, bold solid color napkins are good with Japan lacquer, fringed cotton or paper with rattan and wood trays.
But the doors are the doors of shut-ins, of lonely old people, sick men and women, hospital wards, veterans’ hospitals, and similar institutions.
At the Seder various foods are present which symbolize the hardships the Israelites suffered during their bondage in Egypt and praise given for their deliverance. Matzah (matzoth), unleavened bread, is eaten in memory of the fact that the Jews, escaping from Egypt, had no time to leaven their bread. Bitter herbs (maror) symbolize the embittered existence of the Israelites during their enslavement in Egypt. The shank bone of a lamb is on the table, a reminder of the paschal lamb. Roasted or hard-cooked eggs are served, symbols of the free-will offering that accompanied the sacrifice of the lamb.
Passover Seder is a great tribute to a guest, for it is a religious festival celebrated by Jewish families in the sanctity of their homes. The services are of deep meaning and beauty, and the rituals follow closely those observed in ancient times.
Passover is celebrated in the spring of each year. Sometimes the date occurs at the same time as Easter. According to tradition, Christ was crucified before sundown on the fourteenth day of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar, the date of Passover. Early Christians and Jews observed Passover and the Easter season at the same time. When Christians adopted the Roman calendar, which was based on the solar year, the observance of Easter became a variable date, the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox (March 21st in our calendar today).