By Leah R. Singer
Many of us have heard of the December Dilemma – the conflicts that arise when interfaith families need to chose how to celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas. But few talk about what I’m calling the Spring Dilemma – Passover and Easter.
I hesitate even mentioning them in the same sentence because they are really unrelated. But since they both occur in the spring, they tend to get lumped together as the spring holidays. Not to mention the fact that the egg – one of the most recognizable Easter symbols -- also plays a role on the Passover seder plate.
I’ve always enjoyed Passover. Even as a kid, the ceremonial seder and meal can be made quite fun with singing, re-enacting the 10 plagues, and drinking the four cups of wine (okay, maybe that part becomes more enjoyable as you get into the teenage years and beyond).
But truth be told, it’s hard to compete with Easter. The bunnies, chicks, baskets of toys, Cadbury Eggs, the thrill of finding plastic colored eggs filled with jelly beans and chocolate…. what kid wouldn’t like that? Let’s be honest: matzo pales in comparison to this sort of spring loot.
Although we are an interfaith family, we don’t celebrate Easter the same way we celebrate the other major holidays. We do, however, celebrate Passover. We gather at my parents’ house for a Passover family dinner. I hesitate to even call it a seder as my parents are far from religious, and it would be nearly impossible to get everyone around the table for even a children’s seder. (I don’t think I even attended a traditional seder until college.) But I do like to talk about the meaning of all the Passover symbols. We partake in the traditional food, adhere to eating unleavened products that evening, and most family members have no problem with the four cups of wine requirement.
I try to do my own version of a Passover family seder with my husband and daughter, Sophie, the next night. I get out our seder plate, Elijah and Miriam’s cups, the matzo plate and the plague toys. I get out Sophie’s plush seder set I bought her when she was a baby. And we read Passover books. I like doing this, and it allows me to celebrate Passover in a traditional way that reminds me of the religious meaning behind the holiday. This year will be special since Sophie has learned all about Passover from her Jewish preschool
I will admit that it’s sometimes hard watching Sophie toss aside the toy seder set and go straight for the jelly beans. I guess it just goes to show you – if you want to sell religion, use candy and bunnies. Sadly, chocolate-covered matzo has a ways to go!
Leah is a freelance writer living in sunny San Diego, California. She writes regularly about family, motherhood, traditions, religion, cooking, photography, and other such topics on her blog, Leah’s Thoughts. When she’s not writing and blogging, Leah enjoys cooking (and eating), reading, drinking coffee, browsing antique and bookstores, photography and photo editing, and most importantly, spending time with her husband, daughter, two dogs, and two cats. Read more about Leah and her thoughts at: http://leahsthoughts.com.