History of Passover: starting tonight

Seder of Passover

In making their hasty exit, the Jews did not have time to let their bread rise, so in commemoration, they celebrate the Passover Seder (“order”) meal with unleavened bread (matzo), bitter herbs, and roast lamb to be eaten in traveling garb. The term Passover is often used interchangeably with the term Feast of Unleavened Bread at least in St. Luke’s Gospel (Chapter 22:1,) though the first century Pharisees marked the seven-day feast to begin on the day after Passover. Nevertheless, during the seven days celebration following Passover, only unleavened bread was eaten. In present-day celebration, all yeast is to be removed from a Jewish house during this time.

Passover as a Holy Day

Passover is one of the three Pilgrimage Festivals in the Jewish calendar — along with the Feast of Pentecost and the Feast of Tabernacles — and is a major holiday. Jews from all over the world return to Jerusalem for celebrations at the Temple. During Easter Week, which was at Passover, the Jerusalem of Jesus’ time would have tripled from its population of about 50,000.

Last Supper and Passover

Could The Last Supper (made famous by Leonardo da Vinci’s painting now hanging in the refectory of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazia in Milan, Italy) that Jesus had with his disciples in the Upper Room have been a Passover meal? It seems likely from the New Testament Gospels, and the Epistles make it explicit. The Gospel of Mark 14:12 says it was

Writer and technologist. Author of fascinating articles about history, tech trends, and pop culture. billpetro.com @billpetro

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