Good Friday drops on the an initial night of Passover in 2019, while Easter falls on the 2nd day the Passover.Tony Kurdzuk | The Star-Ledger; Jerry McCrea | The Star-Ledger



A variation of this write-up was an initial published in march 2018. This story has actually been updated with info for holidays in 2019.

You are watching: Are good friday and passover always on the same day

The comes days lug two significant religious holidays — Easter and Passover. Together in many years past, the 2 holidays will share calendar space in 2019.

While days for the holidays readjust each year, the very first night that Passover 2019 — April 19 — lands on great Friday, which is an important part that Easter observance throughout the holy Week coming before Easter Sunday — April 21.

At the outset, Easter and Passover might seem much apart in purpose, ritual and also imagery. However the typical roots of the two holidays end up being overwhelmingly obvious when friend discount any kind of perceived chasm between chocolate rabbits and also marshmallow chicks and matzo and also gefilte fish.

The Passover-Easter connection

Passover marks the biblical story the Exodus, the the Jews and also their leader, Moses, fleeing slavery in Egypt through the help of magnificent intervention.

Easter, widely taken into consideration the most essential day the the Christian calendar, commemorates the resurrection of Jesus as told in the Gospels that the new Testament.

"Passover and an excellent Friday with Easter walk together choose a hand and a glove," says David Kraemer, librarian and professor that Talmud and rabbinics in ~ the Jewish Theological Seminary in new York. "They’re actually designed to go together."

Still, if you think that simply means Jesus, a Jew, to visit a Passover Seder just before he died, check out on. The bond between the two springtime holidays manifests in a collection of meaningful ways — native the name of the holidays come when, how and why us celebrate them.


The connections between Easter and Passover constitute a many-faceted bond.Patti Sapone | The Star-Ledger

It’s in the name

First, let's take the surname of the holidays. The actual origin of the name is unclear, however "Easter" has been associated with a pre-Christian german goddess, Eostre (this is up for debate, as is the existence and origin the Eostre), or a word because that "dawn" (that also contributed come the development of words "east"). However many various other languages call the holiday some variation the Pasqua (Italian) or Pascua (Spanish).

“You’re in reality hearing the closeness the the 2 holidays,” states Gary Rendsburg, professor that Jewish researches at Rutgers college in brand-new Brunswick. “You’re hear the Hebrew native ‘Pesach,’” that says, which is Passover in English.

Why “Passover”? due to the fact that as the story that Exodus goes, the point of view of fatality “passed over” the houses of Israelites throughout the afflict in i beg your pardon the first-born male of each family members was to it is in killed, due to the fact that the Jews had significant their doorposts through lamb’s blood.


A Passover Haggadah.John Munson | The Star-Ledger

Why is Easter sometimes on Passover, and also sometimes not?

In 2019, Passover and Easter converge, together they generally do. This year, an excellent Friday drops on the very first night the Passover, April 19, and Easter falls on the second full day of Passover top top April 21. (Jewish holidays start the night prior to the first day. Passover, which is commonly celebrated with Seders — ritual meals — top top the very first two nights, big a full of eight days and also ends on April 27.)

But in 2016, the holidays were practically a month apart since of a “leap month” in the Jewish (lunar) calendar. And in other years, the holidays were days or weeks apart. Yes a larger reason for that, one that speaks to Easter’s roots in the Jewish holiday.

“Originally, Passover and Easter would have actually been the exact same time every year,” claims Douglas Estes, assistant professor of new Testament and also practical theology at southern University in Columbia, south Carolina.

From the second century through part of the 4th century, Easter was commemorated on the Sunday ~ Passover started (which is wherein it drops this year), claims Bruce Morrill, a Jesuit priest and also professor the theological researches at Vanderbilt college in Nashville, Tennessee.

"Christian churches around the Mediterranean only started celebrating Easter together a feast well into the 2nd century," morrill says, which prospered out the a desire to have a Passover associated with the death and also resurrection of Jesus.

Passover is observed starting on the 15th of the month of Nisan top top the Jewish calendar, during the full moon. Yet Morrill states that in the 4th century, the was established that Easter should constantly fall on the Sunday ~ the very first full moon complying with the feather equinox (March 20).

(Orthodox christians in the east Orthodox Church storage Easter on April 28, simply after the finish of Passover week, since their observance is centered approximately the Julian calendar, not the Gregorian calendar.)


The hallmarks of Easter would certainly not be at residence on a Passover seder table, but the origin of the two holidays' rituals is intertwined. Tony Kurdzuk | The Star-Ledger

Jesus, Passover and also the sacrificial lamb

Many that claim straightforward knowledge of Passover and also Easter may know that Jesus to be a Jew who died during the time of Passover. The question of precisely when he died is laden with enduring symbolism.

The period known together the “paschal triduum” (notice the “Pesach” reference) starts v the Thursday before Easter. Maundy Thursday, or divine Thursday, commemorates the critical Supper, the night before the death of Jesus.

On an excellent Friday, the Gospel of john is read, in i m sorry Jesus is claimed to have been enforcement by the roman authorities throughout the slaughter that the Passover lambs in the daytime, while the preparations because that the holiday were underway.

The Gospels that Mark, Matthew and Luke, i m sorry are review on Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, different in their account, placing the death of Jesus the day after the Passover meal v his hands-on worker (as shown in the Leonardo da Vinci painting “The last Supper”), morrill says. It complies with that Gospel of man is the resource of the image “Christ as the lamb who has actually been slain,” the says.

At the time, Jews would be going come the temple to acquire their Passover lambs after the animals were sacrificed. Today, the lamb reflects up on the Passover Seder bowl in the type of the zeroah, or shank bone (which is not eaten).


A Passover seder plate. At the time Jesus died, Jews would certainly traditionally go to the temple to obtain Passover lambs after ~ the pets were supplied as sacrifices. This day the echo of that ritual deserve to be viewed in the shank bone ~ above the Passover Seder plate.Saed Hindash | The Star-Ledger

Was the critical Supper a Passover Seder?

It’s accepted that Jesus to be executed around the time that Passover. But was Jesus yes, really at a Passover Seder prior to his death?

That, of course, depends on whether you subscribe to the Gospel of man or the other version that the story that does placed Jesus at the critical Supper ~ above the night before his crucifixion. Also if you i think the last to it is in true, over there is some room because that debate. Particularly if you make a difference between “Seder” and “Passover meal.”

“Many civilization think that the critical Supper was a Seder meal,” Rendsburg says. “I’m the that group that think not.”

That’s since the version of the Passover meal that we contact the Seder wasn’t emerged until later, he says, pointing to evidence from the Gospels and Jewish literary works that talks about Jews going come the holy place for sacrifices and to storage holidays. By contrast, the Passover Seder we know today is an in-home affair.

The Seder, which means means “order” and describes the procession of the ritual meal, with its plate of symbolic foodstuffs (matzo, bitter herbs, shank bone and also more) and reading of the story of the Exodus in the Passover Haggadah (“telling”), progressed at a later on time, after the devastation of the second Temple in 70 A.D. But that’s immaterial, Kraemer argues.

“Before the Seder developed, there was currently the Passover eve meal,” he says. “It was plainly the Passover meal.”


Easter lamb. In the book of Revelation and also the Epistle to the Hebrews, Jesus is described as "the paschal lamb."Mitsu Yasukawa | The Star-Ledger

Freedom, redemption and salvation

Regardless of once he actually died — throughout the run-up to the Passover meal or ~ — the image and symbol the Jesus as the lamb cut to the heart of Easter.

In the brand-new Testament — the publication of Revelation and also the Epistle come the Hebrews — Jesus is described as “the paschal lamb,” Kraemer says. His sacrifice “through the crucifixion, like the slaughter that the lamb, is both what symbolizes and also brings around deliverance — redemption,” he says.

Estes says that for Christians, the idea that the resurrected Jesus as the sacrificial Passover lamb is the fulfillment the the Passover story, starting with what God did v Moses "and then even more so, what God did v Jesus."

Early Christians commemorated Passover and also Estes claims he's seen an increase in awareness about the holiday among Christians.

“Passover and Easter room really to plan to walk hand in hand,” that says. “The Israelites observed Passover as the price or the authorize that they to be freed native pharaoh (in Egypt). Christians view Easter together the liberty from corruption or sin. ... As Christians we room rescued and also Jesus is the rescuer."

As component of Saturday night Easter vigil and Holy Thursday, Christians review the story that the Exodus the is uncovered in the Passover Haggadah, i m sorry is read throughout the Seder, states Kevin Ahern, assistant professor of spiritual studies at Manhattan College. The story the Easter is inextricably connected to Passover, yet he likewise says the overarching themes are similar.


The Passover Seder plate includes an egg, though it's no dyed or candy-colored favor Easter egg are.Tony Kurdzuk | The Star-Ledger

"Both that those story say come me that God's love is an ext powerful than any kind of empire," Ahern says, whether the pharaoh or the Romans. "Love wins."

Morrill claims the messages of redemption and deliverance resound through both holidays: "These were life-changing and also death-defeating events."

The paschal candle, which is lit on the night before Easter Sunday, is about needing hope in the world, and light in the midst of darkness. This custom, brought out during the paschal vigil, might remind some of the Jewish practice of lighting candles at night during the Sabbath, morl reel says.

“The light and also the fire point took top top a brand-new sort that intensity since of St. Patrick of Ireland,” morl role says. The tradition of bright a fire or bonfire during the Easter vigil on Saturday night is a tradition originated by St. Patrick, who adjusted the custom from the springtime bonfires that the Druids. It’s just one instance of Easter’s Christianization that a popular local tradition. The eggs and rabbits us associate through the holiday room thought to it is in another.


There may be numerous parallels in between Easter and Passover, yet Peeps aren't exactly one that them. Kosher-for-Passover marshmallows are, however, an integral component of some celebrations not connected to spiritual ritual. Star-Ledger paper photo

Springtime, rabbits and eggs

The soldier of chocolate bunnies, Easter baskets and Easter eggs that are now symbols the the holiday? Those may not have existed in pre-Christian celebrations, however that might be where they come from. Over there is a hard-boiled egg top top the Passover Seder plate, but it’s not dyed springy colors or supplied for a hunting (though children dohunt for a piece of matzo dubbed the afikoman).

The German goddess of dawn, fertility and also spring, Eostre, who may or might not have actually existed and who some think offered us the name "Easter," is also connected through the focus on rabbits and eggs. Signifying life and fertility, both Easter equipment were embraced from existing springtime customs, morl reel says, in maintaining Christianity's custom of convey existing heritages with its religious rituals.

The Easter hare is likewise thought to it is in a German invention, originating through the personality Oschter Haws, an egg-laying bunny. This focus on fertility, spring and life was only applied by the story that Jesus being ceded from death.


The Easter Bunny has actually been connected to Oschter Haws, one egg-laying hare of German tradition.Alex Napoliello | smashville247.net advancement Media for smashville247.net

Matzo, yeast and also symbolism

In the unleavened bread offered for the Christian Eucharist, some watch a likeness come matzo, the unleavened bread the Jews eat during Passover, to commemorate the Jews’ exodus from Egypt. In the normal telling, the Jews did no have sufficient time for their dough to rise prior to they had to flee the pharaoh.

Another interpretation of the unleavened bread is the yeast is connected with haughtiness, or "puffiness," Rendsburg says. Jews to escape their houses of chametz, or leavened products, before Passover, removing both physical and also spiritual yeast for the holiday, he says.

“That’s a good Jewish metaphor,” Rendsburg says. “It gets, like numerous things, layers of interpretation.”

How the barley festival became the matzo holiday

On the surface, you can not discover matzo has much in usual with Easter eggs and Easter rabbits.

But favor the signs that concerned be connected with Easter, the explanation the Jews didn’t have time for your bread to climb in Egypt is likewise the product the reinterpretation, Rendsburg says.

From around 1200 B.C. Come 586 B.C., which was when the an initial Temple was destroyed, Jews celebrated a spring agricultural festival that offered as a precursor come Passover, the says. In this festival, they significant the start of the barley harvest, because it was the very first crop to ripen. In order to celebrate properly, the Jews walk not desire to contaminate their brand-new barley through the yeast that come from old grain.


Long prior to the advance of the Passover Jews memory today, a spring farming festival to be observed by eat unleavened bread made through barley.Noah K. Murray | The Star-Ledger

So they it was observed the celebration by eat unleavened bread made with that new barley — something that didn’t look at anything choose the boxed matzo we eat today, yet probably more like a tortilla, or naan or pizza dough without yeast.

“The main point is unleavened bread for the celebration event of the barley festival, which climate gets written into the narrative,” Rendsburg says. “Religious symbols constantly get reimagined.”

“People celebrate harvests, that’s what lock do,” he says, however Passover was different due to the fact that it was the very first time such a festival was supplied to commemorate a historical event. “The genius of old Israel to be to give historical meaning to the festival,” the says. “Some core element of Israelites came out the Egypt. That occasion took place at the time of the spring, so that was straightforward association come make.”

Note come readers: if you acquisition something through one of our affiliate web links we may earn a commission.

See more: What Does It Mean When You Wear Your Heart On Your Sleeve ? Should You Wear Your Heart On Your Sleeve


Cookie Settings

Community Rules use to all contents you upload or otherwise submit to this site.