When we think of spring holidays, the Easter Bunny comes to mind. But other religious celebrations take place in the spring. In the United States, in April 2022, four of these celebrations— Ramadan, Passover, Easter and Greek Orthodox Easter— take place.
Ramadan takes place during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar; in 2022, that is from April 2 to May 2. Muslims believe that the Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad during Ramadan. In order to focus more on Allah, Muslims who are physically capable of doing so, abstain from eating or drinking anything during the daylight hours of this month. Nutritious meals are generally eaten before sunrise and after sunset. Ramadan is also a time of community service.
“ ’An Imam friend once joked, “We have Ramadan because nobody ever found God or their best self on a full stomach.’ There is truth to this, which is why Ramadan is about disciplining ourselves to help us feel gratitude and compassion.”- Ahmad Deeb, Imam & Director of Religious Affairs at the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo
For more information, contact the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo: icgt.org (419) 874-3509.
Passover is an eight day commemoration of the exodus of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt. This year, Passover takes place between April 15 and April 23. On the first two nights, a ceremonial dinner (called a seder) takes place. This meal centers around the retelling of the escape from Egypt, while eating food to symbolize the events being remembered. During Passover, Jews may not eat any food that contains risen grain, to recall and symbolize the rush to escape, leaving no time to allow leavened bread to rise.
“Passover is relevant to every generation because it’s a connection to our history, to overcoming oppression and moving toward freedom. It helps us empathize with others because of our shared plight.” – Rabbi David Kaufman, Temple Shomer Emunim
For more information, contact the Jewish Federation & Foundation of Greater Toledo: jewishtoledo.org (419) 885-4461.
Christian celebrations of Easter vary by denomination. Though Easter itself, which marks Jesus’ resurrection, is always on a Sunday— in 2022, April 17— many churches also have services on Palm Sunday, (one week before Easter), when attendees wave palm fronds to celebrate Jesus’ entrance to Jerusalem. Good Friday (three days before Easter) is also often celebrated, marking Jesus’ crucifixion.
“The Resurrection is God’s enthusiastic, exuberant YES! to Jesus.” – Pastor Abts, Grace Lutheran Church
For a directory of local Christian churches, the Toledo chamber of commerce has an extensive list: web.toledochamber.com/members/Churches
Greek Orthodox Easter— Greek Orthodox Christianity
For those in the United States, Orthodox Easter will fall on April 24 in 2022. Greek Orthodox Easter is often referred to as Pascha (say “pas-ka”), which is the Greek translation of “Passover.” This is the most important feast of the year in the Greek Orthodox church. In preparation, members abstain from eating certain foods for up to 50 days.
“Pascha is the feast that reminds us of what Christ came to do— that is, to climb on a cross, be risen from the dead and ascend into Heaven for all our salvation.” Father Larry Legakis, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral
For more information, contact the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral: holytrinitytoledo.com (419) 243-9189.
All four holidays are unique and have distinct differences, but they also have themes in common. All celebrate the same deity, are based on a lunar calendar (not having a fixed date) and rejoice in fellowship with family and community. Perhaps this demonstrates that we are far more alike than different.