Ahhh, it’s that time of year again where we’re surrounded by chocolate eggs and bunnies…. And I’m surrounded by Matzah. In other words, it’s between March and April, which is Easter and Passover time. I’ve always wondered if there was some connection between Passover and Easter. As this year’s first night of Passover falls on Good Friday, I thought I’d look into it.
A quick note: Passover does not fall on the same calendar date every year, and that’s because we as Jews follow a Lunar Calendar which dictates when and where holidays fall. This also means that most of our holidays kick off with a massive dinner. Apparently, Easter is also dictated by the Lunar Calendar.
Passover, as much as I detest matzah, is actually one of my favourite Jewish holidays because of the (other) traditional food that we eat. As you are not allowed to eat bread/pasta/grains/beans/rice (well you can if you’re of Middle Eastern descent) etcetera, you’re forced out of your comfort zone and have to be a little bit creative.
*Matzah is essentially a dry cracker that is the traditional food to eat on Passover as it is representative of the unleavened bread that our ancestors had to eat when they left Egypt as they didn’t have time for their bread to rise properly.
Easter to me, with minimal knowledge of almost all non-Jewish festival rituals, has something to do with Jesus and everyone gorging on an unhealthy amount of chocolate over a short time. It’s also the reason to have a 4-day weekend.
While I have done as much research as possible to try and find some similarities and differences between the two festivals, please bear in mind that I am by no means a priest or rabbi.
A similarity that I quite like about both festivals is that they’re celebrations. On Passover, specifically during the meals on the first night (and second night all over the world except Israel), everyone sits down and before the meal, you recount the story of the exodus from Egypt.
It’s a joyous story recounting the hard times and slavery that befell the Jews in Egypt, and then follows through to the exodus from Egypt, while simultaneously giving thanks for the land of Israel and the Torah (think Old Testament).
Easter, as I’ve discovered, celebrates the rebirth of Jesus Christ.
Both festivals involve a lot of one of my favourite activities- eating! When else in the year do you really eat egg or rabbit shaped chocolates? And I can tell you now that there is no other time in the year when I’d voluntarily eat matzah.
In total transparency, most of us don’t even want to eat matzah on Passover, let alone contemplate eating it any other time of year.
Although Easter is generally celebrated over a few days (I never know if Friday or Sunday is more important to people), it feels like everyone is wrapped up in Easter fever for a while.
This, admittedly, is mostly due to supermarkets bringing out Hot Cross Buns about 6 weeks before Easter! Passover is celebrated for seven or eight consecutive days (seven in Israel, eight around the world) and then boom, you’re done for another year.
My ideal world is when the two holidays DON’T overlap that much, as then I get to eat Easter eggs and bunnies since the chocolate is technically not kosher for Passover. And I get the best of both worlds.
I’ll be honest, I was half hoping for a really cool explanation that could give me a definitive reasoning why the two always happen close together, but alas, I couldn’t find one that made things clear.
Guess I’ll have to call my Rabbi and report back.
Thoughts by Aimee