The history of Easter Sunday and Passover

By Don Rajael, CCNN Writer

Easter bunny
Easter traditions include egg hunting and the Easter Bunny.

As Christians celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who they believe was the Son of God, Jews look forward to commemorating their liberation from Egyptian pharaohs 3,300 years ago

Christians observed Good Friday on March 25, honoring the crucifixion and death of Christ. Good Friday follows Lent, a 40-day period of fasting in which worshipers give up things they enjoy in honor of Jesus’ sacrifices. The final week of Lent, called Holy Week, includes Holy Thursday, which remembers the Last Supper that Jesus ate with his Twelve Apostles before he was crucified. According to the New Testament in the Bible, the Christian holy book, Jesus was resurrected from the dead 3 days after his crucifixion on the cross, on Easter Sunday.

The modern tradition of hunting eggs during Easter can be traced to ancient cultures using eggs to symbolize the birth of life. Egg-painting began about 60,000 years ago, since decorated ostrich eggs found in Africa date that far back.

In fact, colorful ostrich eggs were also placed in the tombs of ancient Egyptians 5,000 years ago! The Easter Bunny is a much more recent creation, originating among German Lutherans in the 1600s. Back then, the “Easter Hare” judged kids as good or bad, kind of like Santa Claus.

Meanwhile, Jews celebrate Passover this year from April 22 to April 30. According to the story of Exodus in the Old Testament, Moses led the Israelites to freedom with God’s help. In fact, God punished ancient Egyptians with ten plagues, including locust invasions, frog invasions, and water turning into blood. The 10th and nastiest plague made Egyptian first-born children die, and Jewish people were told to mark their doors with the blood of a lamb, so that the spirit of the Lord would “pass over” them and spare their kids. During Passover, Jewish people often take the day off to recite special prayers and feast on holiday meals that are kosher, meaning they don’t include forbidden meats like pork, lobster, crab, and rabbit. They also eat cracker-like flat bread called “matzah”, which originated when Israelites left Egypt so fast that bread dough didn’t have time to rise.

Featured image (left half) courtesy of Toby Hudson (photo) and Alfred Handel (stained glass) on Wikipedia.  Image of Easter Bunny courtesy of Superbass on Wikipedia.