April is Arab American Heritage Month 2023
Starting as an initiative in 2017 in a handful of states, the President of the US has recognized Arab America since 2021 with an official Presidential Historic Proclamation issued recognizing Arab American Heritage Month – April 2023.
The Arab American Institute reports an estimate 3.7 million Arab Americans in the U.S. with two-thirds of that population living in Florida, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia with the largest populations in Michigan, Illinois, California and New York.
Arab Americans can trace ancestries to 22 countries in the Middle East and North Africa including Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Yemen, Tunisia, Sudan Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Algeria, Qatar and more.
While most people in the Arab world are Muslim (who follow Islam), a majority of Arab Americans are Christian.
Many customs and traditions are influenced by religion. Muslims eat foods that are halal, which means permissible to eat in Islam and is prepared according to Islamic law. These guidelines may vary according to cultural and family traditions. Muslim abstain from all pork, pork by-products and alcohol.
Common foods: falafel, hummus, fattoush, shawarma, tabbouleh and baba ganoush. These dishes may vary according to on Arab region and family recipes.
Food staples: olives and olive oil, fava beans, chickpeas, dried dates, pine nuts, almonds, halloumi cheese. These also include labneh – a strained yogurt dip and halaweh/halva – a sweet snack.
Herbs & Spices: seven-spice seasoning mix, coriander, sumac, cumin, oregano,. Parsley, mint
Popular dishes (may vary according to country of origin): stuffed grape leaves, grilled kabob, lamb tangine, freekeh with lamb meat, mahshee (stuffed zucchini and eggplant).
Ramadan & Eid al-Fitr
March 2 & April 21-23
Recognized as one of the 5 Pillars of Islam, Ramadan is the month-long holiday where Muslims fast from dawn to sunset. The holiday also focuses on prayer and spending time with family and friends. Laylat al-Qadr, the “Night of Power” is the holiest night of Ramadan consisting of self-reflection, prayer and performing good deeds. Ramadan concludes with one of the two major holidays in the Islamic faith Eid al-Fitr which translates to “festival of breaking the fast.” Family and friends gather to enjoy traditional celebratory foods while encouraging to give to those in need.
April celebrates the rich and diverse culture and contributions of the diverse population of Arab Americans. How can you get involved? Follow this link and CELEBRATE DIVERSITY!
13 Ways To Celebrate Arab American Heritage Month 2023
Scottish-American Heritage Month
Scottish Americans are one of the oldest immigrant groups in the US and have played an indelible role in America.
The first known Scottish immigrant arrived in America on the Mayflower in 1620. The political and social climate in Scotland drove many Scots to America. Due to the high cost of the journey, many came as indentured servants. Because so many Scots joined the American Revolutionary Army, the British outlawed emigration to North America during the Revolution. Upon the victory of US independence, Scottish immigration soared. An estimated 20-25 million Americans claim to be of Scottish descent including 35 presidents and half the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
National Tartan Day
April 6 every year is National Tartan Day. This commemorates the day the Declaration of Arbroath or the Scottish Declarations of Independence, was signed in 1320. Tartan Day originated in Canada. The Coalition of Scottish Americans in the US successfully campaigned for National Tartan Day in 1998. Tartan day is now celebrated in the Canada, the US, Australia and Argentina. The Tartan refers to the kilts traditionally worn by members of the Scottish clans of old.
Traditional Scottish vs. Scottish American foods
Scotland food: Haggis with black pudding (blood sausage), tattie (potato) scones, neeps (turnips), Selkirk Bannock (quick bread with raisins), Scoth Pie (double-crusted pie), fish & tattie soup, Kedgeree (rice dish with smoked haddock, parsley and egg.
Scottish American Food – American food favorites owed to the Scots: Southern fried chicken, griddle cakes, oatmeal porridge, butterscotch candy