This weekend, families across Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area will gather for Easter and Passover celebrations. Both are springtime holidays with religious origins, and both share themes of liberation and triumph, involve buying a lot of eggs, and include celebratory feasts with families and loved ones. But have you ever wondered what the differences are between Easter and Passover, and how they are typically celebrated? Read on to learn more.
Each year, as spring blooms to life, a feeling of hope and renewal arises in our hearts. This renewal of nature mirrors the spring festivals of Easter and Passover, both of which hold key themes of hope, celebration, and redemption.
Easter is a Christian holiday that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, on Easter Sunday. Easter is connected to the Passover and Exodus from Egypt recorded in the Old Testament through the Last Supper and the crucifixion that preceded the resurrection.
Before Easter Sunday, Christians also mark several other days of historical and biblical importance during Holy Week. These include Palm Sunday, Holy Monday and Holy Tuesday, Holy Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday (also known as Black Saturday).
Palm Sunday was the day that Jesus arrived in Jerusalem. It’s said that the people who came out to greet him on that day threw palm branches on the road, which led to the tradition of Anglican and Roman Catholic churches distributing miniature crosses made of palm leaves among the people – a tradition which continues to this day.
Maundy Thursday was the day on which Jesus had his Last Supper – a Passover meal that he shared with his disciples, and which included wine and bread. Good Friday was the day on which Jesus was crucified to death and it is a day of mourning. Easter Sunday is the main day of the festival, and this was the day when God resurrected Jesus from his death.
Many Christians observe Easter Sunday by attending church and then enjoying a festive dinner with family and friends. Traditions also include colouring hard-boiled eggs and hiding plastic ones filled with candy or surprises for an Easter egg hunt.
Passover is a Jewish festival that commemorates the liberation and exodus of the children of Israel, by Moses, from the slavery and domination of the Pharaohs in Egypt. It is celebrated for seven to eight days, beginning this year on Friday, April 15th.
Passover gets its name from an ancient story: Moses visited Pharaoh time after time, trying to persuade him to release the Israeli natives. However, Pharaoh did not relent. So, eventually, Moses warned the Pharaoh about the horrible plagues that God would hurl at Egypt, if he continued to refuse to release the Israelites. God also told Moses that the Israelites should mark their doorposts with lamb’s blood to protect them from these plagues, when God “passed over” their homes – hence the origins of the name. This caused the Pharaoh to finally relent and let the Israelites go.
Many Jewish people celebrate Passover with a meal where families and friends of the family will read scripture while drinking four glasses of wine and eating foods that represent the exodus from slavery. They will also abstain from eating all leavened bread for about a week, and eat matzo – a thin, unleavened cracker – instead.
Jewish people gather to celebrate freedom, whereas Christians gather to celebrate a miracle. Both holidays involve special, celebratory dinners where families gather with loved ones and enjoy delicious feasts.
These feasts both include sweet foods, which represent the holidays. In Christianity, sweets and candies were traditionally eaten to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, while in Judaism, sweet foods represent the mortar from the bricks used to build Pharaoh’s temple.
Both Easter and Passover also use eggs as traditional symbols. In Christianity, eggs symbolize Jesus’ tomb and when painted with bright colours, they represent the resurrection, while in Judaism, eggs celebrate rebirth.
So while Easter and Passover are different holidays, they share many similarities as well.
If you celebrate Easter or Passover, we hope that you and your family have lovely festivities! Will you be celebrating? Connect with BAZIS , our Toronto real estate development company on social media (Facebook, Twitter or Instagram) and let us know!