Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Passover and Easter


This week we talk about spring, Passover, Easter and weddings.
Here is a site that gives ideas for Seder with the children:



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Kosher food
                   











? Passover
Passover (Hebrew,: Pesach,) It commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt. Passover begins on the 14th day of the month of Nisan in the Jewish calendar, which is in spring in the Northern Hemisphere, and is celebrated for seven or eight days. It is one of the most widely observed Jewish holidays.
In the narrative of the Exodus, the Bible tells that God helped the Children of Israel escape slavery in Egypt by inflicting ten plagues upon the Egyptians before the Pharaoh would release his Israelite slaves; the tenth and worst of the plagues was the death of the Egyptian first-born. The Israelites were instructed to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a spring lamb and, upon seeing this, the spirit of the Lord knew to pass over the first-borns in these homes, hence the name of the holiday. There is some debate over where the term is actually derived from. When the Pharaoh freed the Israelites, it is said that they left in such a hurry that they could not wait for bread dough to rise (leaven). In commemoration, for the duration of Passover no leavened bread is eaten, for which reason it is called "The Festival of the Unleavened Bread". Matzo (flat unleavened bread) is a symbol of the holiday.
Historically, together with Shavuot ("Pentecost") and Sukkot ("Tabernacles"), Passover is one of the three pilgrimage festivals (Shalosh Regalim) during which the entire population of the kingdom of Judah made a pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem. Samaritans still make this pilgrimage to Mount Gerizim, but only men participate in public worship.



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Easter.
Easter  or (among Eastern Orthodox) Pascha from Hebrew: Pesa ,is a Christian festival and holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his crucifixion at Calvary as described in the New Testament. Easter is the culmination of the Passion of Christ, preceded by Lent, a forty-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance. The last week of Lent is called Holy Week, and it contains the days of the Easter Triduum, including Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday in the Catholic Church), commemorating Maundy and the Last Supper, as well as Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus. Easter is followed by a fifty-day period called Eastertide or the Easter Season, ending with Pentecost Sunday. The festival is referred to in English by a variety of different names including Easter Day, Easter Sunday, Resurrection Day and Resurrection Sunday.
Easter is a moveable feast, meaning it is not fixed in relation to the civil calendar. The First Council of Nicaea  established the date of Easter as the first Sunday after the full moon (the Paschal Full Moon) following the March equinox.Ecclesiastically, the equinox is reckoned to be on 21 March (even though the equinox occurs, astronomically speaking, on 20 March in most years), and the "Full Moon" is not necessarily the astronomically correct date. The date of Easter therefore varies between 22 March and 25 April. Eastern Christianity bases its calculations on the Julian calendar whose 21 March corresponds, during the 21st century, to 3 April in the Gregorian calendar, in which the celebration of Easter therefore varies between 4 April and 8 May.
Easter is linked to the Jewish Passover by much of its symbolism, as well as by its position in the calendar. In many languages, the words for "Easter" and "Passover" are etymologically related or homonymous. Easter customs vary across the Christian world, but attending sunrise services, exclaiming the Paschal greeting, clipping the church and decorating Easter eggs, a symbol of the empty tomb, are common motifs. Additional customs include egg hunting, the Easter Bunny, and Easter parades, which are observed by both Christians and some non-Christians.

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Why do we give eggs at Easter?
Easter is a Christian holiday. For Christians the custom of giving eggs at Easter celebrates the new life. Christians remembers that Jesus, after dying on the cross, rose from the dead. They believes that through his resurrection, Jesus defeated death and sin, and so he offers people the promise of eternal life, if they follow his teaching.
What was the first Easter egg like?
The first egg was given at Easter were birds eggs. These eggs were painted in bright colors , so it will give them further meaning as a gift. Today, we still paint bird eggs, especially chicken eggs.
An Anglo-Saxon legend - the Easter bunny and the eggs:
An Anglo-Saxon legend tells how the Saxon goddess Easter found a wounded bird and transformed it into a hare, so that it could survive the Winter. The hare found that he can lay eggs, so he decorated each one, and left them as an offering to the goddess.

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A site that teaches how to decorate Easter eggs:                               





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Why according to Judaism, it is forbidden to get married at Passover?
In the Jewish calendar, there are occasions when it is not customary to have a wedding ceremony. These dates are related to traumatic events that took place in the history of the Jewish people, on holidays or during fasting. One of them is the 50th day of the Omer (7 weeks between Passover and Shavuot). According to the Jewish tradition, at this time (during the Bar Kochva revolt), there was a killing of 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva, and so, this is a mourning time. (you can see dozens of men wearing a beard waiting for the day they can shave again). 
Easter is in the spring, and like other Christian holidays, it can be found in their original ancient traditions and earlier than the period of Christianity.
 For example, Easter Bunny is related to the fact that the rabbit symbolizes fertility.
Some people who eat chocolate rabbits, symbolizing fertility and also spring. 
Unlike Judaism, it is customary to get married at Easter.

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I wish you all a happy holiday
See you next post
Love,
Talila.