Passover, the commemoration of the Old Testament story of the deliverance of the ancient Hebrews from slavery in Egypt, begins at sundown on Monday.
Jews in San Diego and around the world will gather for a ritual meal called a Seder, which means order. It features six symbolic foods, including matzah, a cracker-like unleavened bread symbolizing the Exodus from ancient Egypt when there was not enough time to let the bread rise.
During the Seder, people drink four cups of wine, symbolizing the promises that God made to the Israelites, including deliverance from bondage.
According to the book of Exodus, the enslaved Israelites used the blood of lambs to mark their doors so the Angel of Death would “pass over” their homes and instead slay the firstborn sons of Egyptians — the 10th and most horrific of the plagues that finally persuaded the pharaoh to agree to Moses’ demand: “Let my people go.”
Passover and Easter, which is next Sunday, are always entwined for historical reasons. The Last Supper in Christian tradition was likely a Passover Seder, though some Bible scholars reject this interpretation.
Easter was originally celebrated on the first Sunday following Passover. The Christian Council of Nicaea in 325 officially separated Easter from the Jewish calendar, but in practice, the dates remain associated by the way they are calculated.
The Christian holiday has come to be the first Sunday after the full moon that occurs on or soonest after March 21. Passover occurs on the first full moon in spring under the Jewish calendar.
In case you’re looking at the sky, and want to confirm this celestial trivia, the moon will officially be full in San Diego at 11:08 p.m. Monday night.
Times of San Diego wishes San Diego’s Jews a happy Passover and Christians a happy Easter.
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