By: Dani Zeiler
As you know, April is a time where there is one random snowfall, the weather generally gets warmer, and flowers start to bloom. It is also the time of year when many religious holidays are celebrated! This year, the Jewish people celebrated Passover, the Christian people celebrated Easter, and Muslim people celebrated Ramadan all during the same weekend! Many people around the school celebrate these holidays. In this article I will share a brief history behind each of these holidays and what they mean to those who celebrate it.
Passover is a celebration that lasts a week. It started during sunset on April 15th and lasts until sunset on April 23 for most Jews. The story of passover starts with the Jewish people arriving in Egypt. They lived there for many prosperous and happy years in an area called Goshen. Eventually, a famine had begun and the population in Egypt rose; some of the population saw Jewish people as a threat. After the death of Joseph and his brothers who originally brought the Jewish people to Egypt, were killed, the new Pharaoh enslaved the Jewish people. God, hearing the cries of the enslaved people, produced 10 plagues to convince the Pharaoh to let the Jewish people go. These were blood, frogs, lice, wild beasts, cattle disease, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, and the death of the Egyptian first born. After the 10th plague, the Pharaoh let the Jewish people go. Moses parted the red sea and led the people through. The name Passover comes from the fact that Jewish people painted their door with lamb’s blood so the angel of death would not retrieve their first-born and pass-over their homes.
Easter is a celebration lasting over a four-day weekend. It started on April 15h and ended on April 18th. Easter is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. He had been crucified by the Romans, death around 30 AD. It concludes the period called “The passion of Christ”, a series of events and holidays with a 40-day period of fasting, prayer and sacrifice. The holiday is associated with Passover; many areas around the world call the holiday names very similar to Pesach. “In Greek the feast is called Pascha, in Italian Pasqua, in Danish it is Paaske, and in French it is Paques” (Travers). In mainly English speaking areas, many of the well known traditions associated stem from the Pagen festival celebrating the arrival of spring. It is associated with the goddess Estore (or Ostara), Pagen goddess of spring or renewal. Symbols like the easter bunny and chocolate eggs come from Pagen traditions as well.
Ramadan is a month of fasting, prayer, and reflection for Muslim people. They fast during the entire day. They break the fast with friends and family in the evening, this is called Iftar. They eat breakfast before their morning prayer before sunrise, this is called Suhoor. They follow the holiday under Muhammad, the prophet who received the initial revelations of the Quran, the holy book in the religion. It is a time of self-restraint and self-reflection. Practices in the holiday teach empathy for those who are hungry and less fortunate. Fasting is practiced by everyone who is able. These are people who have reached the age of puberty and do not have any health complications. Those who are unable to participate make up for lost time by fasting later in the year or by helping feed the hungry. The holiday is concluded with a festival known as Eid al-Fitr.
“Beautiful Quran Verses on Love.” MuslimSG, 1 Sept. 2020, https://muslim.sg/articles/beautiful-quran-verses-on-love.
History.com Editors. “Easter 2022.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 7 Apr. 2022, https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/history-of-easter.
History.com Editors. “Passover.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 13 Apr. 2022, https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/passover.
History.com Editors. “Ramadan.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 14 Apr. 2022, https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/ramadan.
Posner, Menachem. Parting of the Red Sea – Jewish History – Chabad.org. https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/246647/jewish/Parting-of-the-Red-Sea.htm.
Travers, Penny. “Origin of Easter: From Pagan Rituals to Bunnies and Chocolate Eggs.” ABC News, ABC News, 14 Apr. 2017, https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-15/the-origins-of-easter-from-pagan-roots-to-chocolate-eggs/8440134.