It started on Thursday for the Christians with Holy or Maundy Thursday services. I remember them well. This was the terrible night in the Garden of Gethsemane when, while Jesus prayed, Judas dropped the dime on him or in his case, 30 pieces of silver. Now the term 30 pieces of silver has come to denote ultimate betrayal. Once the deed was done, and Judas was remorseful he hung himself which only would have compounded his sins in the eyes of the Church. But then again, there was no Church at that time!.
Next came Good Friday which ironically is one of the most somber days of religious observation for the Christians and an evening of joyous celebratory feasting for the Jews. Although also threaded with somewhat somber overtones as the story of the Jews plight from Egypt is read at the evening’s Seder, it is also a time for families to gather together to share in this traditional meal replete with special and significant dishes. While Jewish families are feasting on brisket, gifelte fish and matzoh ball soup, Christians are fasting between meals and eating only seafood as is their tradition on Good Friday. Why do they call it GOOD? I haven’t done any research prior to writing this blog and I’m ashamed to admit that 6 years in St. John’s Parochial School didn’t leave me with the answer, but if you know it, please share with us all. My only guess is that according to my Catholic beliefs, it is characterized as good because that’s the day Jesus saved us all by sacrificing himself for our original sins – well that’s the way the story goes anyway. Also, the word good is derived from the word pious which means holy, so perhaps we should refer to it as Holy Friday. We always went to a long and arduous service on Good Friday; There was the Stations of the Cross, a long sermon and most of all I remember that at one point, the priest would call out things we would implore God to grant or guide us by responding with “Lord, Pray for us” or “Lord Hear Our Prayer”. One of my favorite memories, as I like to tell my Jewish husband, is kneeling in church and the priest intoning something about the Jews of the world and our collective response “Lord, Hear our prayer” .
Today is Holy Saturday and as a kid, I remember it as thank God, we don’t have to go to church today, we can eat what we want and tomorrow although a going-to-Mass day would still be a celebration. My girlfriends were allowed to gather but it was supposed to be a day of quiet play and I remember so clearly, sitting on my front steps playing ball and jacks with my two best friends.
This year Saturday is also the second night of Passover and we are on our way to Brooklyn to join in a non-religious Seder meal at my sister-in-law’s. They will read from a Haggadah, however it will be devoid of any reference to God. Mmmm unusual…but befitting of their own atheistic beliefs.
Tomorrow is Easter, the hat is ready, the outfit sort of picked out. Photos to follow.
A Zissen Pesach and Happy Easter to all.
- Pesach and Hag HaMatzah. (workofheartandsoul.wordpress.com)
- Hag Sameach – Buona Pasqua – Zissen Pesach – Happy Easter (dobianchi.com)
- History on Easter (ourcommunityatfbcdc.wordpress.com)
- Good Friday – Happy Easter … (point4counterpoint.wordpress.com)