Celebrating Diversity: Easter, Ramadan, and Passover
As spring ushers in new life, many different cultures worldwide celebrate holidays with their own unique traditions and customs. In this post, we'll take a closer look at three holidays - Easter, Ramadan, and Passover - and explore their similarities and differences. In doing so, we hope that members of our community will come to appreciate the similarities that connect us and the diversity that elevates us as a human race.
EASTER (April 9, 2023)
Let's start with Easter. Easter is a Christian holiday that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It's usually celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox, which falls between March 22 and April 25.
The origins of Easter can be traced back to ancient pagan traditions that celebrated the arrival of spring. "Easter" comes from the Old English word "ēostre," which was the name of the pagan festival celebrating the goddess of spring during the spring equinox. This festival marked the rebirth of nature and the renewal of life after the dark, cold winter months. As Christianity spread throughout Europe, these pagan traditions were incorporated into the Christian faith, and the celebration of Easter began to take on a new meaning.
In many countries, Easter is a time of feasting and celebration. For example, in the United States and Canada, it is customary to have a big family meal on Easter Sunday, often featuring ham, lamb, or turkey as the main dish. Easter eggs are also popular in these countries, with children participating in Easter egg hunts and decorating hard-boiled eggs.
In Europe, Easter traditions vary by country. For example, in the United Kingdom, hot cross buns are a popular treat during the Easter season, while in Italy, it is customary to have an Easter feast with family and friends. In Germany, Easter trees are a typical decoration, with branches of trees adorned with colorful eggs and other ornaments.
RAMADAN (March 22, 2023 - April 20, 2023)
Next up is Ramadan. Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, and it is believed to be the month in which the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. It is a time of spiritual renewal and devotion to Allah. The timing of this holiday is based on the Islamic calendar (which is slightly shorter than the Gregorian calendar), so the starting point of Ramadan starts about 11 days earlier each year. Ramadan has already begun and will come to a close around April 20th where a celebration known as Eid al- Fitr occurs.
Fasting (Sawm) is one of the five pillars of Islam, and during Ramadan, Muslims are expected to fast from dawn until dusk. This means that those who can safely abstain from food, drink, and other physical needs or desires do so during the daylight hours. The fast is broken each evening with a meal called iftar, usually shared with family and friends.
Ramadan is celebrated in different ways worldwide, but the basic principles of fasting, prayer, and reflection are the same. In some countries, such as Saudi Arabia, work and school hours are adjusted during Ramadan to accommodate the fasting schedule. In other countries, such as Indonesia, the atmosphere of the entire month is festive, with markets and shops staying open late and special Ramadan-themed events taking place.
Traditional foods include dates, lentil soup, and other hearty dishes that can sustain fasting individuals during the day.
(Break your Fast with Fez dinnerware and glassware -- with designs inspired by Islamic architecture in Morrocco!)
PASSOVER (April 5, 2023 - April 13, 2023)
Finally, there's Passover. Passover commemorates the Israelites' liberation from slavery in ancient Egypt. According to the Bible, God sent ten plagues to Egypt to convince Pharaoh to release the Israelites. The tenth and final plague was killing the firstborn son of every Egyptian household. God instructed the Israelites to mark their doorposts with the blood of a lamb so that the angel of death would pass over their homes. This is where the name Passover comes from.
The Israelites then fled Egypt and crossed the Red Sea, where they were finally free. Passover celebrates this freedom and the strength and perseverance of the Israelites during their time of slavery.
Passover is celebrated in different ways worldwide, but the basic principles of the Seder meal and the telling of the story of the Exodus are the same. The Seder is a special meal that takes place on the first two nights of Passover, and it includes a series of rituals and symbolic foods that tell the story of the Exodus.
In Jewish communities around the world, the Seder is a time to come together with family and friends to retell the story of the Exodus, sing traditional songs, and share a festive meal.
(Enjoy your Seder with the Zanzibar collection, and drink your wine out of our Fez glassware collection. With a six-leaf central design on the dinner plates, you can easily place the six traditional items on your Seder plate. The colors of Fez glassware collection perfectly complement Zanzibar too!)
There are, of course, significant differences between Easter, Ramadan, and Passover, but they all share a common theme of celebrating important events in their respective religious histories. Moreover, the practices and rituals associated with each involve bringing communities and families together to celebrate meaningful stories and shared values around the table. Perhaps this is why “breaking bread” with someone signals connection and friendship since it is such a core part of virtually every tradition and gathering.
So, whether you're enjoying a traditional Easter ham, fasting during Ramadan, or celebrating Passover with a Seder meal, we encourage you to take a moment to appreciate the richness diversity brings to the world’s landscape.
We wish you all a joyful and bright spring season. And for those who choose to celebrate such seasons with Euro Ceramica’s dinnerware, we are honored to be a part of your gatherings.