Ramadan, Easter, and Passover: The Spring Holiday Trifecta
By Hadi Rahim, Rose Andrews, Jessica Hudnut, and Kate Sinodis
With spring comes the inevitable flood of pollen, exams, and spring holidays to celebrate. Many of these holidays stem from the various religions represented at Apex High School. While there are too many to cover in just one article, three of the biggest holidays celebrated during this time of year are Ramadan, Passover, and Easter.
Muslims believe that the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam, was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad during the month of Ramadan. Ramadan is not always a spring holiday; the month follows the Islamic Hijri calendar, which is lunar, not solar. This means that, each year, Ramadan starts about 12 days before the previous one. During Ramadan, Muslims who have reached puberty abstain from eating food and drinking water from dawn until sunset. Some Muslims choose to abstain from gossiping, listening to music, and cursing as well. Fasting can be more difficult during the summer months since the days are longer. The purpose of fasting is to teach Muslims patience and to think about those who do not have regular access to food or water. It also teaches them to be closer with God.
Fasting can be hard for Muslims at Apex High, especially during lunch when their peers are all eating around them. Some Muslims do not go to the cafeteria while fasting; Layan Qaimari, a student and member of the Muslim Student Association, described what she and her Muslim peers do during lunch: “We go to either Ms. Nordt’s room or Mr. Muhsen’s room and usually we’ll just read or talk with the other Muslims and it’s a nice time because we get to relax from school and be surrounded by people who are fasting like us.” Layan also loves Ramadan because it is a time where all Muslims in the community get together.
The month of Ramadan lasts 30 days. The first day of the next month, Shawwal, is a holiday known as Eid al-Fitr. This holiday celebrates the end of Ramadan and most muslims celebrate it by performing special prayers, visiting families, and giving gifts.
This year, starting on April 15th, the Jewish holiday Passover is celebrated. Passover commemorates the emancipation and escape of the Isrealites from slavery in ancient Egypt. It is one of the three ancient Israelite pilgrimage festivals. There are two main ways that Passover is celebrated. One is by participating through the seder, a special dinner to the holiday. The other is by not eating bread or leavened products for the eight days it is celebrated in. The eight day festival will end on April 23rd.
Abby Jerchower, a sophomore at Apex High School, shared her thoughts on Passover, “It’s fun, and I know a lot of people don’t like it because they think it’s boring, but I like reading from the book and talking with them.”
Christians celebrate Easter during this time of year, which falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon to fall on or after March 21st. This year, it was celebrated on April 17. Easter is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, said to occur on the third day after his crucifixion. As a religious holiday, Easter is marked by family gatherings and special church services. There are also important customs that take place during the week leading up to Easter Sunday, including Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday.
There is also a commercial side to Easter, characterized by secular traditions such as decorating eggs, the Easter Bunny, and more. Lindsay Taylor, a sophomore who recognizes Easter as a religious holiday, doesn’t mind this type of secular celebration as long as it’s conducted respectfully: “It’s up to people to celebrate whatever they want. People who aren’t [Christian] want to celebrate Easter, but I think you should try to understand what the holiday is about.”
Some people, such as sophomore Liam Kiley, only celebrate the secular side of Easter, because they enjoy certain aspects of the holiday, but not the religious ones. Others, including Jacque Cranfill, a freshman, celebrate with their families, but may not continue to celebrate it later in life.
Other students, like Aiden Swiatkowski, recognize more than one of the major spring holidays this year. He celebrates both Easter and Passover. “I like celebrating holidays with my family. We all get together and have fun, and eat a big feast together. It’s nice.” While he enjoys both, he prefers celebrating Passover.
This year marks a rare occasion, as Ramadan, Passover, and Easter will all align on Sunday, April 17. These are only a few of the many holidays celebrated by various cultures every spring. There are also students at Apex High School who celebrate Holi, Spring Equinox, and more. Throughout the year, it’s important to be respectful of the diverse traditions of the many cultures represented here at Apex High.
- True or False: Muslims cannot drink water while fasting.
- What is the feast eaten during Passover called?
- What are two of the three days in the Christian Holy Week called?
- What is the month after Ramadan called?
- What was the day that all three holidays aligned this year?