Passover, Easter, Ramadan 2022 fall simultaneously
This Friday, Christians commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus, and Sunday celebrate Easter, marking their belief in his resurrection. On Fridays, the Jewish people celebrate Passover Eve, commonly referred to as Passover, which commemorates the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and the end of their slavery. (Also read: Good Friday 2022: Date, History, Meaning of Christian Easter Friday)
And also this weekend, Muslims around the world mark another Friday, their weekly holiday, in the month of Ramadan, which began on April 2 and ends on May 2. This coincidence of dates is unusual, especially as far as the proximity of Islamic Ramadan to Christian Lent or the dates of Passover and Easter is concerned.
This rare conjunction of holidays is possible because unlike the Christian calendar, which is determined by the path of the sun and widely used in the Western world, the Islamic calendar is aligned with the moon and the lunar year. Twelve months in the solar year last 365 days, in the lunar year, on the other hand, only 354 days. Thus, the Islamic holiday cycle moves through the Western calendar over a good three decades.
“Brothers and Sisters in Humanity”
The shorter course of the year offers Muslims “the chance to experience Ramadan as well as other festivals in different seasons and in different climatic conditions,” the spokesperson for the German Muslim Coordinating Council, told DW. Abdassamad El Yazidi. At the same time, it ensures that Muslim holy days coincide in time with various Christian and Jewish holy days. “It should remind us that we are all brothers and sisters in humanity and we must work together for good.”
The Jewish holiday of Passover and the Western church date of Easter, on the other hand, always occur quite close to each other in early spring. But they don’t often fall on exactly the same date. In 2022, Passover begins on April 16 and Christian Holy Week – which began on April 10 on Palm Sunday – culminates from Maundy Thursday evening April 14 to Easter Sunday morning. The feast covers the “Passion” of Jesus, from the last meal with his disciples to the celebration of the resurrection.
The difference is because the Christian calendar has dated Easter to the Sunday since 325 CE, specifically the first Sunday after the spring full moon. In the Jewish calendar, on the other hand, Passover can begin on any day of the week.
Nowhere in the world do the celebrations of several monotheistic religions come together so closely as in Jerusalem. One can feel how the three religions are “looking forward to these days”, German Benedictine monk Nikodemus Schnabel told DW. In what he described as an “intense time” there, “the city is literally vibrating with the various pilgrims, as if there is a need to catch up with the coronavirus, to party outside again and to get together. gather for the holidays,” said the monk, who has lived on the outskirts of Jerusalem’s Old City for many years.
Ultimately, according to Schnabel, the common experience of a pilgrimage festival connects religions. The Christian faithful parade in prayer in the old city for several days in a row. On Friday mornings, Muslims go to the mosque on the Temple Mount for prayers. And during these days, many Jews are led to pray at the Western Wall – the ruins of the Western Wall of the Second Jewish Temple in ancient times. The location is considered by many Jews to be one of the holiest sites in which to pray, due to its proximity to the nearby Holy of Holies, the holiest part of the ancient temple. Given the political tensions in the region, these days are always a challenge for all the city’s security forces.
Easter in Orthodoxy
After this weekend, however, the Easter celebrations are not over. In Orthodox churches and some of the Eastern churches associated with the Catholic Church, the commemoration of the death and resurrection of Jesus does not take place until the following weekend.
The reason for the different dates is that in 1582 the Christians of the East, under Pope Gregory XIII, opted for a calendar reform which moved the liturgical calendar to the Gregorian calendar. These traditions now mark the beginning of spring differently.
The Greek, Russian and Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate Easter this year a week after Western Christians. And in Germany, Ukrainian-speaking communities are preparing for large crowds. The churches are expecting many Christians who have fled the Russian invasion in recent weeks.
This article was originally written in German.