Monday April 10 is the Eve of Passover, or Erev Pesach in Hebrew, when most Jewish families meet to have an annual ‘Seder’ Meal recounting the story of the people of Israel being led by God from the slavery and bondage in Egypt to the Promised Land described as ‘flowing with milk and honey.’
The aspirations and prayers of those Jews who were later forced from that Promised land by the Romans in AD135 after the Jewish Temple was razed to the ground in AD70 were expressed at the end of the Passover Meal with the words, “Next year in Jerusalem!”
It was this Passover Meal that Jesus, or Yeshua, as a Jew, shared with his disciples before His death on Passover Eve and which He asked His followers to remember “as often as ye do this.”
Recent news coverage reported Theresa May bewailing the loss of the word ‘Easter’ in a Cadbury chocolate egg hunt at a National Trust venue in England, but has she ever given thought to where the word ‘Easter’ comes from or what it actually means?
It has no connection with Jesus or His death whatsoever, but is the name of a pagan deity celebrating fertility, quoted by the Venerable Bede as ‘Eastre’ or ‘Eostre’ appearing variably in differing cultures at different periods as Ishtar, Astarte, and even in the Bible as the abominable Ashtoreth whom God hated!
Is this then a suitable title for what is claimed to be the Church’s most important feast? Surely the Biblical word for this event is Passover, not ‘Easter,’ but it would appear that that the change suited anti-Jewish sentiments within the Church at the time as ‘Passover’ was too connected with the Jews.
Not surprising if Jesus was a circumcised Jew and the New Testament clearly states: “Christ (Messiah) is our Passover - therefore let us keep the feast” (i.e. Passover). So why don’t we keep it?
Rather than an outcry at the term ‘Easter’ being dropped, we should welcome it! Pagan fertility symbols like Easter bunnies and eggs have nothing to do with the Biblical story of Jesus and it’s time the two were separated to avoid any further confusion or offence.
Colin Nevin, Bangor (Chef, Hilton Tel-Aviv, Israel 1991-2002)