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Easter and Passover traditions examined

There are a lot of conflicting stories about the origins of traditions at Easter and Passover, but one common thread is the connection between this time of year and renewal.

The story behind Easter and Passover date back thousands of years

Easter eggs produced by folk artists are displayed during the traditional Kaziukas fair, a large annual folk arts and craft fair in Vilnius, Lithuania, Friday, March 6, 2015. The festival honors St. Casimir, the patron saint of Lithuania who was born in the 17th century and to whom this fair was dedicated to in the 19th century. (Mindaugas Kulbis/The Associated Press)

There are a lot of conflicting stories about how hidden food became traditions at Easter and Passover, but one common thread is the connection between this time of year and renewal.

Christians will celebrate Easter and Jewish people will celebrate Passover this weekend.

For Christians, eggs serve as a symbol of new life.

"To be able to draw into this idea that we are called to uniting ourselves to the resurrection of Jesus," said Father James Hughes from St. Patrick's Church in Vancouver. 

Eggs were never to be eaten during Lent for the 40 days, and because of that there is preparation of seeing the joy of those eggs come out on Easter."

At its core, Passover is the celebration of the story of the Exodus, the Jewish people leaving slavery. 

Matza is the traditional food, which is unleavened bread - - representing how the Jewish people needed to leave slavery in a hurry so there was no time for the bread to rise.

Hiding and hunting food are part of both holiday's celebrations

For Easter, one story says it began in Scotland as a spring tradition for finding wild bird eggs, which would be plentiful at this time of year.

Another contends that early Lutherans may have done something similar as a way of hunting for the tomb of Jesus.

Hunting for food is also an important part of the Passover dinner celebration.

Based on a Greek tradition of gathering for a long conversation at the meal, Rabbi Dan Moskovitz says it is custom to hide the dessert, called an afikoman, from the person leading the meal because without it, the meal will go on and on - - but the meal needs to end by midnight.

"There's always a big negotiation about who has the afikoman and we need it because we have to end by midnight and we can't end without it."


To listen to the full interview, listen to the audio labelled Holiday Origins

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