Connection Between Easter and Passover
Easter and Passover both festival celebrate hope, and spring season. Passover is a Jewish holiday while Easter is an Christian holiday. There a vital connection between the Christian observance of Easter and the Jewish celebration of Passover that has the power to enrich the significance of both. Both holidays face head-on the daunting power of death—and both announce God’s greater power of life.
Jewish celebrate Passover on a fixed date – the 15th of Nisan – on their calendar, and the Christian Council of Nicaea decreed that Easter would be observed on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox.
Passover is a fixed date on the Jewish calendar, the 15th day in the month of Nisan. The Jewish calendar follows the cycles of the moon, while the Gregorian calendar (the most widely-used) is a solar calendar, using the Earth’s orbit around the sun as its measure of time. Then there’s Orthodox Easter, which goes by the Julian calendar (differing from the Gregorian calendar by 13 days).
Holy Week (the week leading up to Easter Sunday) are are believed to have taken place place during Passover, a holiday which predated the birth of Christ by many centuries. It is said Christ was actually sharing a Passover meal with his disciples at what became known as the “last supper”.
If Passover is largely about Egypt, Easter is largely about Passover. In 2023 Passover will be celebrated from April 5 to April 13 and Easter Sunday is on April 9.
Easter is linked to Jewish Passover
Jesus’ pilgrimage to Jerusalem to celebrate the eight-day Jewish festival marking the Hebrew slaves’ exodus from Egyptian slavery was a religious requirement for Jews of his day. After his death by Roman crucifixion, Passover became an integral part of the Easter story, and Jesus’ Last Supper was like an early version of what later became the Passover seder meal.
Passover was instituted 3,400 years ago, while Easter was celebrated by Christians on Passover. This is the the major Jewish spring festival which commemorates the liberation of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery, lasting seven or eight days from the 15th day of Nisan. The word Passover comes from the Hebrew “Pesach,” which means “to pass over.”
Passover is celebrated in the Jewish home with the seder meal and the telling of the story of the exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt from a book called the Haggadah (which means “telling”). The Haggadah sets forth the order (seder) of the celebration. When Jesus observed the Last Supper with his disciples, it was a Passover seder. Jesus used elements of the seder — the unleavened bread (matzah) and wine — to commemorate his impending death (the bread represents his body, the wine his blood).
The most important and oldest festival of the Christian Church, celebrating the resurrection of Christ and held (in the Western Church) between 21 March and 25 April, on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the northern spring equinox. The weekend from Good Friday to Easter Monday.
Easter is the Christian celebration of the resurrection of Christ, which is said to have occurred three days after a seder meal (The Last Supper) — that’s the connection to the Passover seder. Since Christ is said to have risen on a Sunday, that would make the day the meal took place a Thursday. In Christian circles, the day commemorating this meal is called Maundy Thursday or sometimes Holy Thursday.
Similarities between the Jewish Passover and Christian Easter
- Blood was shed as a symbol of salvation in both cases.
- In both cases God used an individual in liberating the people.
- In both cases they remember God’s love for His people.
- Both the Passover and Christian Easter are annual feasts.
- In both cases sacrifices and offerings are made.
- In both cases the participants remember the suffering and victory.
- Both incidents are important historical events which form the basis of the belief and practice in Judaism and Christianity respectively.
In short, Happy Easter, Passover, to all those that celebrate. May this season allow you to repent and let go of the past, enjoy the present with family and friends, and celebrate the promise of yet another Spring as you move forward to a bright and limitless future.