Passover Versus Easter

I was raised to observe the Easter holiday but for the past six years, I have chosen to observe Passover instead, and this is why…

This is a rare year where the first night of Passover happens to fall on the same day as Good Friday and coincides with the Easter weekend. Even though I was raised and traditionally celebrated Easter for the most of my life, as an older adult, I am choosing to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Passover.

When I was a kid, at Easter time we only had three channels on the television, four if you included PBS, and there were always two broadcasts that were guaranteed to be shown that weekend. The Wizard of Oz always was on the Sunday night of Easter and at some other time that weekend, Exodus with Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner would be on also.

In the movie Exodus, Charlton Heston played Moses, and it is the story of leading the Israelites out of Egypt and the central part of that movie is god visiting upon the Egypt the ten plagues where Pharaoh (played by Yul Brynner) is convinced to release the Jewish slaves free. The last plague where god kills all of the first-born, and the Hebrew slaves mark their doorways with the blood from a sacrificial lamb, and are “passed over” or spared from that event is where the Passover holiday derives its name.

From a personal standpoint, even if I was raised both Southern Baptist and later Methodist, I have always been more of a fan of the Old Testament. The New Testament has never, ever been my favorite. Give me the book of Proverbs over anything else, any day.

After meeting my fiancée years ago who is herself Jewish, I have always celebrated Passover with her and out of respect and deference to her faith, I always observe with her.

Passover for me is a more mindful event than Easter. It is a week where you abstain from any leavened breads and any other foods that are deemed non-Kosher. It is a week of sacrifice.

During that week, it is a struggle for me personally, as I miss eating bread but it also causes me to pause and reflect upon god and the magic of the universe. I prefer the act of observance to the “celebration” that typically surrounds Easter.

And let’s face it… Christian Holidays, i.e. Christmas and Easter in particular have become nothing more than blatant marked periods of consumption. For the life of me, I have NEVER understood the correlation between Easter and the resurrection, and how that is in any way related to a silly bunny rabbit and a basket full of candy, oddly colored eggs, and boatloads of chocolate. Even as a child I have never been able to reconcile that disconnect in my mind. So for me, Passover just makes more sense.

Then there is the speculation amongst many of my Jewish friends that I might actually indeed be Jewish. Especially from my “adopted Jewish mother that I never had” who swears I look just like one of her college friends. Of course I have no way of proving this and it has never shown up in any genealogy that I have discovered yet sometimes I even tend to believe it myself. If this is true, it might explain why Jewish Holidays and celebrations resonate more for me than what one might expect.

If you celebrate Easter, I wish you a Happy Easter and a wonderful day. If you are one who observes Passover instead, I’ll be hanging in there with you until next Friday night at sundown and will be ending Passover with the more modern Jewish tradition of ordering Pizza!

Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – Certified Life Coach – Aspen, Colorado

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