Christians and Jewish people both have separate yet intertwining traditions celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As Easter approaches, I thought it would be good to see how each faith celebrates this season.
Catholics observe Lent
When does Lent begin? February 21 (ash wednesday) April 7 (day before Easter)
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, the day after Pancake Day and , six and a half weeks before Easter Day. The last week of Lent begins with Palm Sunday, which celebrates the day Jesus entered Jerusalem and the people lay down palms at his feet.
What happens to any Palm crosses left over? Any left over Palm Crosses are kept and burned to make ashes for next years Ash Wednesday services (see Ash Wednesday )
Why does Lent last for 40 days? The 40 days mark the 40 years of the Israelites going through the desert and the traditional 40 days of Jesus fasting in the desert.
Why are Sundays not counted in the 40 days?Sundays are always a day of celebration in the Christian church and so they cannot be included in the 40 days of Lent. What happens during Lent?During Lent Christians used to fast (give up food) but now a days people try to give up something like chocolate. Lent is a time when Christians remember the 40 days and nights Jesus spent alone in the desert without food being tempted by the Devil. Jesus used this time to prepare for His work by fasting and praying.Many churches hold special Lent services. In some towns the churches of different denominations join together in groups to discuss and share their Christian faith.
Jews celebrate PassoverPassover in 2007 starts on Tuesday, the 3rd of April and will continue for t days until Monday, the 9th of April. Note that in the Jewish calander, a holiday begins on the sunset of the previous day, so observing Jews will celebrate Passover on the sunset of Monday, the 2nd of April.
Passover is one of the most important Jewish religious festivals. The Passover celebration begins on the evening of the 14th of Nisan (first month of the religious calendar, corresponding to March-April) and lasts seven days in Israel, eight days in the Diaspora (although Reform Jews observe a seven-day period). Numerous theories have been advanced in explanation of Passover’s original significance, which has become obscured by the association it later acquired with the Exodus. In pre-Mosaic times it may have been a spring festival only, but in its present observance as a celebration of deliverance from the yoke of Egypt, that significance has been practically forgotten.
Passover SederThe Seder is the ceremonial evening meal which is conducted on the first evening of Passover in Israel and by Reform Jews, and on the first and second evenings by all other observant Jews in the Diaspora. The Passover seder is one of the most widely observed of all Jewish customs. In the Seder, various special dishes symbolizing the hardships of the Israelites during their bondage in Egypt are served. During the seder, a platter, called a Seder Plate, is a main part of the dinner, and it has on it all of the main symbols of Passover.Throughout the period of Passover, Only unleavened bread (Matzah) may be eaten. Jewish law also requires that special sets of cooking utensils and dishes, uncontaminated by use during the rest of the year, be used throughout the festival.
Christians observe Holy Week or The PassionPalm Sunday (Passion Sunday)Palm Sunday is the sixth and last Sunday of Lent and the beginning of Holy Week. The date for Palm Sunday in 2007 is 1st AprilHoly Week is the week before Easter, commemorating events in the last days of Jesus’ life. It begins on Palm Sunday and ends on Easter Monday. Special Days in Holy Week.
- Palm Sunday (Passion Sunday), the day Jesus arrived in Jerusalem.
- Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday), Last Supper and the betrayal by Judas.
- Good Friday (Holy Friday), the arrest, trial, crucifixion, death and burial of Jesus Christ.
- Holy Saturday, the Sabbath on which Jesus rested in the grave.
Palm Sunday is a time of celebration as well as sadness because Jesus died on a cross less than a week after he had entered Jerusalem.
What is Palm Sunday?The Sunday before Easter is known as Palm Sunday. It celebrates Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem for the Jewish festival of Passover. Great crowds of people lined the streets waving palm branches to welcome him. The people were very excited. They spread branches on the road – and even laid down their clothes. They shouted ‘Hosanna!’ which means ‘Save us Now!’
Why is it called Palm Sunday?The Sunday before Easter is called Palm Sunday because the crowds waved palm branches as they followed Jesus’ procession into Jerusalem. Passion Sunday is a term formerly used to denote the fifth Sunday of Lent in the Christian liturgical calendar; since 1970, when the new church calendar approved by the Second Vatican Council went into effect, the term has been applied to the following Sunday, until then officially called Palm Sunday (the churches of the Anglican Confession adopted this new definition in 1976). …
Why did Jesus go to Jerusalem?It was the time of the Jewish feast of Passover. Many Jews travelled to Jerusalem to celebrate this feast together.