Context: AH is a 21 year old man from Los Angeles. He and a few other people are the heads of Ziahism, a religion that he first had visions about when he was a child. When he was 14, he dreamt of a story that would become the basis of the recipe in the picture: the tale of Hima, or the winter solstice. The full story can be found here: https://ziahism.wordpress.com/Hima/ The main components relating to the recipe, however, are that a bison named Flushjanu sacrificed his own body so that the ossiahs (gods) could live, and they ate his meat wrapped in masa or wheat. The winter after he wrote this story, AH bought pizza dough and made little buns filled with bison meat, mushrooms (which are also very important to the religion), and other spices. This bison buns are called Fluzjao, named after Flushjanu. The first year, it was only AH and his family. However, the next year and all years after that (besides those over COVID), he and his fellow Ziahists have made these buns together and eaten in honor of Hima. In the second year of this, they made mashed sweet potatoes and it was decided that they are only to be eaten in a wooden bowl. Others also made contributions, such as ceramic candle holders depicting the story of Flushjanu. Sometimes people ask him what they should do if they can’t get bison meat, and he tells them to eat any type of meat in any little bread pocket they can find.
Analysis: So many cultures have created so many traditions regarding solstices. Seeing how one such tradition comes into life is a beautiful thing – it is not often that you get to meet the mind of the one who created a religious tradition that is actively followed by at least a small group of people. While the specific traditions are important for the holiday in this religion, it is also important that AH encourages people to engage in the tradition however they are able, rather than shunning them for not being able to find the right ingredients. So many traditions are less about the physical things that are in front of the individuals celebrating, and more about the concept of celebration and togetherness. While the bison represents a very literal aspect of the story, the warmth of any food that resembles this also represents the hearth and fire, the congregation of souls, that AH’s tale inspires.