A Different Kind of Easter and Passover

Easter PassoverEaster this year is next Sunday, April 12.  Passover will begin on the evening of Wednesday, April 8 and ends the evening of April 16.  But both holidays will be celebrated differently this year in this time of staying at home and social distancing.

Gathering together and attending services in a church or temple are strongly discouraged and for good reasons. That doesn’t change individuals and confined family members in a household’s ability to continue their ceremonies.

Passover is the major Jewish spring festival which commemorates the liberation of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery, lasting seven or eight days from the 15th day of Nisan, as told in the book of Exodus in the Bible.

The Synoptic Gospels present the Last Supper as a Passover meal but the Gospel of John makes no explicit mention that the Last Supper was a Passover meal. John presents the Jewish Passover feast as beginning in the evening a few hours after the death of Jesus.

There are certainly connections between the two holidays, though there are major differences too. Both holy days (which is where “holiday” originated) celebrate liberation and freedom of different kinds.  The Hebrew word for Passover is Pesach in Hebrew פסח and in French, Easter is the similar Paques.

Some early Christians marked Easter on the same day as Passover, regardless of the day of the week, while others followed the practice that Easter came on a Sunday, as it had for Jesus’ disciples.

Later this month, Ramadan in the United States will begin the evening of April 23 and end the evening of May 23. Perhaps, the situation will be better by that time. I’m sure members of all three religions will be praying for a swift end to the pandemic.

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A lifelong educator on and off the Internet. Random by design and predictably irrational. It's turtles all the way down. Dolce far niente.

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