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Opinion

Columnist compares Passover and Easter traditions while explaining little-known facts

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March 24, 2010

While stemming from the traditions of two different religions, Easter and Passover have a lot in common. Here are some facts that you may not have known about these upcoming holidays.

Passover

  • Passover is the oldest continuously celebrated Jewish holiday.
  • Pesach is the Hebrew word for Passover.
  • A Seder is the traditional dinner on the first two days of Passover.
  • The word Seder in Hebrew means “order”
  • The Haggadah is a book that contains the entire service used for the Passover seder.  The central message for Jews in the Haggadah is that God rescued the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. In the Haggadah, the name of Moses is mentioned only once, in order to prevent Moses from becoming idolized.
  • The Afikomen is the last food eaten at the Passover Seder. It is a hidden matzah that children find after the Seder.
  • The Hebrew word for Egypt is “mitz-rah-yim.”  When Jews talk about being “enslaved in mitzrahyim,” they mean not only in Egypt but also in all the times and places where Jews were not free to practice their religion.

Easter

  • Jesus’ Last Supper was actually a Passover Seder.
  • The traditional act of painting eggs is called Pysanka.
  • The tradition of giving eggs has been traced back to the Egyptians, Persians and Gauls who believed the egg was a symbol of life.
  • The date of Passover is variable as it depends on the phases of the moon and thus Easter is also a movable feast.
  • Every year on Easter the Pope sends his “Urbi et Orbi” to the world. This is a Papal address to the world also given on Christmas.
  • The name Easter comes from Eostre, an ancient Anglo-Saxon goddess of the Sun. In pagan times a festival was held every Spring in her honor.
  • The Guinness Book of Records holder for the largest Easter egg ever made is the Belgian chocolate producer Guylian who made the chocolate egg with at least 50.000 bars on behalf of the city of St. Niklaas. The egg measured 8.32 metres high . Twenty-six craftsman worked altogether 525 hours to build the egg. They needed 1950 kg of chocolates.

These are just a few little known facts about two widely celebrated holidays.

Chaia means life and Kimi-Chaia Lindberg tries to live it to the fullest. Writing is what she loves. Spanish, Hebrew, Portuguese and English are the words she uses. Tel Aviv is where she is inspired.