Belief Beat

With Passover and both Easters — for eastern and western Christians alike — coinciding this year, it’s a more hectic “Holy Week” than usual for religion reporters and interfaith families.

Although it’s more historically accurate when Passover and Easter come together, given that Jesus’ Last Supper was probably a Seder, the JTA points out that this makes life rather difficult for Jewish-Christian families trying to balance kosher-for-Passover diets with Easter baskets brimming with candy. (I’m guessing they already opt for lamb instead of ham on Easter Sunday.)

As for the East-West Easter convergence, which I recently covered for Religion News Service, I seem to be one of the few people who prefer when the Orthodox celebrate aftgreek easter2.jpger everyone else. For starters, we usually don’t have any scheduling conflicts with our Catholic and Protestant relatives, but this year, some of them can’t make it to our big family gathering. Also, a later Orthodox Easter generally means better weather for spit-roasting lamb and barbecuing kebabs, it’s easier to get time off work (especially since I agree to cover western Easter), we can load up on marked-down chocolate bunnies and marshmallow peeps, etc. I’ve also been known to snark that it’s the “correct” Easter because it never falls before Passover; however, my expert sources informed me that this is just coincidence, and the Jewish calendar has changed since the crucifixion anyway…

Then again, it does seem un-Christian to continue disagreeing like this, and the outdated Orthodox method will gradually drift Easter into summer. The World Council of Churches has a plan that could resolve this calendar conflict, though these things take decades, if not centuries.

In the meantime, whether you dip your eggs in salt water, hunt for them or crack them together, happy holidays.

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