I have always believed it is so important to understand the different holidays whether you celebrate them or not. I grew up Catholic and had many friends that were Jewish. I was able to celebrate both holidays from these religious practices.
This Friday, April 19, begins one of the Jewish Religion’s Most Sacred and Widely Observed Holidays, Passover commemorates the Story of the Israelites’ Departure from Ancient Egypt.
The story of Passover begins after Joseph brought his family to Egypt. This caused the Pharoah fear that the new baby king would cause the Jews to rise against the Egyptians so he decided to enslave all of them. The Jew’s still continued to have children so The Pharaoh had to think of another plan. He will send soldiers to kill all new born male babies. In order to save Moses, his mother and sister put him in a basket and set it down the river to anywhere safe.
When Moses is discovered in the river, he was save and raised by no other than the pharaoh’s daughter making him a prince of Egypt. After Moses grows up, he receives a message from God calling out to him from a burning bush telling him that he’s been chosen to free the Hebrews from slavery. Moses returns to Egypt demanding that the Pharaoh releases the Hebrews. The Pharaoh refused leaving God to send ten plagues upon Egypt: blood, frogs, lice, wild animals, disease, boils, hail, locusts, darkness and the death of a first born of every Egyptian family.
The tenth plague is where the holiday’s name, Passover, comes from. This was named after the mark of lamb’s blood on Hebrew home’s doorpost was made to tell the Angel of Death to pass over the Hebrew homes. When the last plague ended, the pharaoh finally released the Hebrews. They quickly ran to bake their bread, they baked so fast that they did not even wait for the dough to rise which is why matzah is a speciality of Passover.
This Week, Jews Around the World are Observing a Week-long Festival with a Number of Important Rituals, including (1) Traditional Passover Meals known as Seders, (2) the Removal of Leavened Products from their Home, (3) the Substitution of Matzo for Bread and (4) the Retelling of the Exodus Tale Read Aloud from a Special Text called the Haggadah (Hebrew for “Telling”).
In many households, children enjoy participating in the Traditional Hunt for the Afikomen, a piece of Matzo that is hidden Early in the Evening. The Finder is Rewarded with a Prize or Money.
Enjoy learning about your own heritage and religious backgrounds and also of your friends and the people around you. This expands your awareness to all the wonderful people and cultures of the past, present and future.
Just as spring adds new life and beauty to all that is, the understanding of various cultures and religious backgrounds adds new life and new beauty to all that is.
Namaste, Lots of Love and Hugs.
Claire and The American Yoga Academy Staff