Despite the fact that Easter and Passover are celebrated within days or weeks of each other, most Jews and Christians don’t realize the link between their respective spring holiday observances. The reason for this lies simply in the fact that many Jews and Christians alike know little of the origins of the other faith’s holidays, rituals or beliefs.
“Although Christianity arose out of Judaism, many Christians do not recognize this,” explains Nina Amir, president of Pure Spirit Creations and an expert at transforming empty religious practices into what she calls meaning-full and spirit-full rituals. “Christians do not talk about Jesus as a Jew, and, for the most part, Jews don’t acknowledge Jesus at all, even though he was a great rabbi, or Jewish teacher. The celebration of Easter and Passover, however, provide a wonderful opportunity each year to acknowledge the connection between these two religions and these two holidays.”
In fact, Easter and Passover share at least three common elements. First, many religious scholars have said that Jesus’ Last Supper was a Passover seder. “A seder is a service or ritual meal that commemorates the Biblical accounting of the Jews escape from Egyptian slavery. As a Jew, Jesus was obligated to participate in a seder,” explains Amir, “and during Biblical times many Jews traveled to Jerusalem to do so.”
Many Christian churches have instituted a seder before Easter Sunday as part of their Easter celebrations. This observance is called Maundy Thursday, Holy Thursday or Great Thursday. Those Christians who believe Passover was the last supper site Luke 22:15, in which Jesus says, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” Mark 14:12 echoes this with the comment, “And on the first day of the Unleavened Bread, when the Passover [lamb] was being sacrificed, his disciples said to him [Jesus], ‘Where do you want us to go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?’”
Second, just as Jesus crucifixion and resurrection led to the start of Christianity, the Israelite’s liberation from Egypt led to the beginning of Judaism. “It wasn’t until the Jews had crossed the Red Sea that they became a nation unto themselves. This freedom and nationhood led them to enter into the covenant with God at Mt. Sinai, which marked the beginning of Judaism.” Amir adds, “Prior to Jesus’ crucifixion Amir adds, “Prior to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, he was a Jew and his followers were Jews. Upon his death, his teachings became the basis for Christianity. His resurrection and ascension, as well as the miracles he performed during his lifetime, caused him to be named posthumously as the ‘Christ.’ Thus, Christianity was born.”
Third, both Easter and Passover revolve around the idea of rebirth. “Jesus is resurrected, or born again, and the slaves are reborn into freedom,” explains Amir. “Both holidays draw in the idea of birth or rebirth with Easter eggs and the hard-boiled eggs served on Passover.”
With Judaism as the foundation for Christianity, Amir concludes, “It behooves both Jews and Christians to study each other’s religious beliefs and to become familiar with their historical foundations. In this way, we can better understand each other, our selves and our different religious observances and rituals. If more people would do this – not just Jews and Christians but people of all religions – we might not only appreciate each other more but we might create more peace and love in the world.”
Amir, a journalist, Kabbalistic conscious creation coach, author, editor, and speaker, focuses her work on infusing rituals with meaning and spirituality, on developing positive approaches to life and on learning to manifest goals and dreams through use of thoughts, words, feelings, and actions. The president of Pure Spirit Creations in Los Gatos, CA, she is the author of the upcoming Setting a Place for God, A Woman’s Guide to Creating Sacred Space and Inviting the Divine to Dwell Within It.
Nina Amir (email@example.com) 15383 Stetson Road – Los Gatos, CA 95033 Phone : 408-353-1943