The oldest communal, continually celebrated festival in the world is

 

PASSOVER

 

     This religious holiday, celebrated for over 3400 years, occurs this month on MARCH 26.  It is a day that is special to Jews, as well as an increasing number of Christians.

What does it mean and why does it still matter?

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(1)   To Jews it commemorates the redemption of Israel from Egypt and a long period of enslavement.  According to the Bible, at God’s command, on a specified night, his chosen people were to “paint” blood from a freshly killed lamb on the doorposts of their houses so their first-born sons would be spared dying at the hand of an Angel of Death.  Soon after this, since the Egyptians had no such protection, there was great grieving and the repressive Pharaoh let the people leave Egypt and head north to land God had given them.  The Angel of Death had PASSED OVER them.

(2)  To Christians Jesus was crucified on PASSOVER nearly 2000 years ago.   His shed blood on that day is said to save the lives of people–Jews or non-Jews–who trust in him for salvation.

So PASSOVER today is a solemn yet joyful celebration for Jews and an increasing number of non-Jews who trust in the God of the Bible.  Traditions vary somewhat in the many celebrations of PASSOVER that will soon take place this year. And it all began more than 3400 years ago.