Impact of Modern City Life has on Passover and Easter

Essay by ben92390College, UndergraduateA+, April 2009

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My family comes from two different religious sides. My Father is Jewish, so we celebrated Passover. My Mother is Christian so we celebrated Easter as well.

Passover is a Jewish holy day and festival commemorating the Hebrews escape from enslavement in Egypt, and is the seventh day. Feast of the Unleavened Bread it lasts eight days.

Easter is a moveable feast, meaning it is not fixed in relation to the civil calendar. After several centuries of disagreement, all churches accepted the computation of the Church that Easter is the first Sunday after the “Paschal Full Moon”, which is the first moon whose 14th day.

Easter is linked to the Jewish Passover not only for much of its symbolism but also for its position in the calendar.

When the Pharaoh freed the Hebrews, it is said that they left in such a hurry that they could not wait for bread to rise.

In commemoration, for the duration of Passover, no leavened bread is eaten. This bread that is flat and unrisen is called Matzo, matzo is the primary symbol of the holiday. We still follow what the ancient Hebrew’s did and eat Matzo and many other foods that they would have eaten in the ancient times such as gefilte fish, chopped liver, maror which is bitter herbs, usually horseradish or romaine lettuce, used to symbolize the bitterness of slavery. We normally would drink wine, if you were the appropriate age. Four glasses of wine are consumed during the service to represent the four-fold promise of redemption, with a special glass left for Elijah the prophet.

In addition to celebrating Passover my family also celebrated Easter. Easter is the oldest and most important Christian festival, marking the end of the fasting season of Lent and the death, on Good Friday and resurrection of Jesus Christ, on Easter Sunday. There are many customs and traditions associated with Easter, which, like most other holiday and feast days, are derived from a combination of both Jewish and Christian and practices. It is named after Eostre, the goddess of fertility and birth, worshipped by first-century pagans at the vernal equinox, who believed she would bless both their families and their crops. Christian missionaries saw this celebration took place around the time of the resurrection of Christ, so they adopted Easter as a Christian holiday to increase conversion.

Some of the early Christian debate centered over the desire to keep the date of Easter separate from the weeklong Jewish festival of Passover, which celebrates the Exodus and freedom of the Israelites from ancient Egypt. It is believed that the Last Supper was in reality the Seder meal, which traditionally marks the start of Passover. The word Paschal, used to describe many things associated with Easter, itself derives from Pascha, the Greek and Latin transliteration of Pesach, the Hebrew word for Passover.

Although my family may come from two different religions, they are both still very alike and without either one or the other the modern life as we know it would be completely different.