Passover, Good Friday overlap a reminder of the Jewish holiday's historical link to Easter

Jesus's last supper, here portrayed in the famous painting by Leonard Da Vinci, is widely considered to have been an early version of a Passover Seder. Credit: Wikimedia Commons. 

The Jewish holiday of Passover, which begins Friday at sundown, is overlapping with the pre-Easter Christian holiday Good Friday. While the two holidays rarely fall on exactly the same day, this year's convergence is a special reminder of the historical link between Passover and Easter.

Jesus, who was Jewish, likely observed the eight-day festival marking the freeing of the Jews from slavery in Egypt by making an annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem. While on this pilgrimage, Jesus was arrested by the Romans, according to biblical accounts, which later led to his crucifixion. Good Friday marks Jesus's death and crucifixion.

As Christianity evolved after Jesus's death, Jesus's last supper began to be thought of as an early version of a Passover Seder. However over the centuries, as Christian persecution of Jews mounted based on the belief that Jews had been responsible for Jesus's death, the relationship between Easter and Passover became more controversial. Particularly during Passover, Jewish communities were often targeted with violence over the Christian belief that they sacrifice Christians and use their blood for Passover. This became known as the blood libel.

The Second Vatican Council of 1965 absolved Jews from responsibility in Jesus's death, which paved the way for a better modern relationship between Judaism and Christianity.

Posted on April 3, 2015 .