April Brings Us Religious Observances
- Palm Sunday – April 1, 2012
- Good Friday – April 6, 2012
- Passover begins April 6 at Sundown
- Easter Sunday – April 8, 2012
This year Easter is April 8, 2012. The name "Easter" originated with the names of an ancient Goddess and God. Easter was named after Eostre. She was the Great Mother Goddess of the Saxon people of Northern Europe. Her name was derived from the ancient word for spring "eastre." The ancient Saxons celebrated the return of spring with a festival commemorating her. Easter was originally a pagan festival. The second-century Christian missionaries came across these pagans and decided to convert them to Christianity. They did it slowly, allowing them to continue celebrating their way, then slowly changing the holiday to a Christian holiday. Easter is celebrated by Christian’s world wide with food and festivities.
This year, Good Friday is April 1, which is also the fun unofficial holiday “April Fool’s Day” where people play tricks on each other... Many people go to church on Good Friday in preparing for Easter the following Sunday.
Passover begins April 6, 2012 at sundown to commemorate the deliverance of the Jews from slavery in Egypt. It is also known as the Festival of Unleavened Bread, in their flight into exile, the Hebrews had time to prepare only unleavened bread (matzo) to take with them. The holiday lasts one week. Families gather for a Seder for one BIG night and possibly other nights.
In the center of the table at every Passover Seder is a plate arranged with foods symbolic of the holiday. The only one that requires a recipe is charoset: this is a mixture of fruits, nuts, and spices. Charoset represents the mortar the Jewish people made while laboring as slaves in Egypt. Melissa’s offers a complete variety of fruits, nuts, and spices to accommodate the variety of ways it is prepared in Jewish communities all over the world.
Wine is also served during the Seder and is used and drank throughout the service. Children are served grape juice so they, too, can participate. The highlight of the evening is when the leader of the Seder hides the Afekoman, a piece of Passover Matzo used in the Seder, and the children have to search the home to find it. The child who finds it uses it to "bribe" the Seder leader who needs it to finish the service... He in turn gives the child a coin, or a dollar bill. It is all in fun. Also, the youngest child that can read is asked to read the FOUR QUESTIONS-these are simple questions explaining to the child, and the group, why we have Passover. Most services conducted in the home last from half an hour up to one hour.
For a special Passover Seder, choose from a variety of Melissa’s Potatoes, Boiler Onions and fresh Parsley for karpas; Horseradish for chahzeret and morror; and apple-pears for a unique charoset. To accompany pot roast and poultry dishes after the Seder, Melissa's Baby Red Potatoes, Pearl Onions, Celery Root and Parsley Root, will enhance your meal. Try our favorite recipes to make your feast simple and delicious. Fresh herbs and spices prepared into Matzo Ball Soup, along with Dried Fruits and nuts for snacking, are also a 'must have' for this celebration.