“Hoppy” Easter/Happy Passover to All Those Who Celebrate!

Greetings Stikii lovers! Passover has just begun, and Easter is this weekend, so what better to blog about than these holidays and their traditions? We thought you would enjoy it :).

 

EASTER


Easter, the Christian holiday that celebrates Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead, falls on Sunday, April 8th this year. Lent, the 40-day time period that leads up to Easter Sunday, is a time of reflection and penance that represents the 40 days that Jesus spent alone in the wilderness before beginning his ministry. Christians believe that during this time, Jesus survived many temptations from the devil himself.  The week prior to Easter, “Holy Week” , begins with Palm Sunday, a day that recognizes Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, and also includes Maundy Thursday (commemorates the Last Supper) and  Good Friday (this day honors Christ’s crucifixion). The fifty days following Easter Sunday are called Eastertide and celebrate Jesus’ ascension into heaven.  Easter is Christianity’s most important holiday in that it recognizes and honors the fact that Jesus Christ died for the forgiveness of sins.


Easter Traditions:


The following have become popular Easter Traditions:


Easter Eggs


In Medieval Europe, eggs were forbidden during Lent, so eggs collected during that time were often boiled in order to better preserve them. Eggs were thus a basis of Easter feasts and given to children and servants as Easter treats. They are also seen as symbols of new life and fertility.
In Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches, eggs were often dyed red to symbolize the blood of Christ. Now one of Easter’s favorite past times is coloring and decorating boiled eggs.


An egg hunt is often incorporated on Easter Sunday as well. This is a game during which decorated eggs are hidden for children to find.


The Easter Bunny

Rabbits and hares are also considered symbols of fertility. The inclusion of a rabbit into Easter seems to have originated in Germany, where stories of an “Easter hare” who laid eggs for children to find were told. We now have songs all about the Easter bunny, and it is often a tradition for youngsters to have their picture taken with a costumed bunny. Many also claim that it is the Easter bunny who hides the Easter eggs.


Easter Parades


After baptisms, early Christians wore white robes all through the Easter week to represent their new lives. Those who had already been baptized wore new and special clothes to indicate their sharing a new life with Christ. Centuries ago, churchgoers would take a walk after Easter Mass. Today these walks have become Easter Parades, filled with floats, music and spectators showing off their spring finery, including lovely bonnets.

 

 

PASSOVER


Easter is linked to the Jewish Passover by much of its symbolism, along with its date. Passover is one of the Jewish religion’s most sacred holidays and commemorates the Israelites’ departure from ancient Egypt and slavery. The story of Passover tells that God helped the Israelites escape slavery in Egypt by inflicting the Ten Plagues on the Egyptians before the Pharaoh would release them. These plagues consisted of:  water turned to blood, frogs, lice, flies, disease of livestock, unhealable boils, hail, locusts, darkness, and the death of all first-born children. The Israelites were instructed to mark their doorposts with the blood of a spring lamb, and by doing so, the Lord would “pass over” their homes and leave their children unharmed.  During Passover, no leavened bread is eaten, and traditional meals known as Seders take place.
Passover Traditions


The following are just a few Passover traditions:

 

Passover Seder


One of the most important parts of the Passover celebration is the ceremony of Seder (which means “order” in Hebrew). All the rituals are observed in a particular order on this day. Seders consist of lavish meals, special foods, stories, and histories of Passover.

 

Seder Plate
The Seder Plate usually has five foods that have a special Passover meaning:

  1. Karpas – a green vegetable representing the initial flourishing of the Israelites during the first years in Egypt.
  2. Charoset – a mix of fruits, wine or honey, and nuts to symbolize the mortar that the Israelite slaves used to construct buildings.
  3. Maror – a bitter herb that represents tasting the bitterness of slavery.
  4. Z’roa – a roasted lamb shank bone meant to represent the lamb that the Jews sacrificed as a special Passover offering.
  5. Beitzah – a roasted egg that symbolizes the festival sacrifice offered in the Temple in Jerusalem.


Seder Wine


Four glasses of wine are poured during the Seder in recognition of the four main stages of Exodus that led Hebrew slaves to the promised land of freedom.  These stages were: Freedom, Deliverance, Redemption, and Release.

 

Matzo


The baking of unleavened flatbread is a symbol of the Passover holiday and eaten during the Passover week.

 

Whichever holiday you and your family celebrate, we hope that you enjoy the festivities and time together. Happy Passover! Happy Easter!