The festivals of Easter and Passover coincide this year. One key thing they have in common is that they can both cause tension within the family. Another is the use of eggs. For Easter they are made of chocolate. For Passover they are natural, hard boiled and represent the beginning of life.
Practising Christians usually go to church over Easter. While others tend to see the four-day break as a family occasion, when they eat hot cross buns together, exchange presents of chocolate eggs and organise an egg hunt if there are small children. For those with a horrid parent any present giving is a source of stress and an opportunity for the horrid parent to put you down. For example, the chocolate may be the wrong brand or a deliberate act on your part to make your horrid parent put on weight, or that t is inferior to one bought by their favourite member of the family. It can help you cope if you accept in advance that whatever you do might be wrong.
It’s up to you to decide how you’d like to mark Easter. You could ring the family, send a card, or visit your family and give them a present. You can equally ignore it completely. Work out, perhaps with an understanding friend or partner, how your parent might behave and be ready for any eventuality. You could also have an escape plan so if the atmosphere is bad you can suddenly remember where you need to be and politely take your leave.
Passover is the favourite festival for most Jews. It involves a different diet and no bread and requires lots of preparation.
The eve of the eight-day festival is celebrated by what is called Seder night. This is traditionally a time when the family gather together to tell the story of the Exodus of Jews from Egypt where they had been Pharaoh’s slaves. It’s full of symbolism with different foods representing aspects of the story. It is also a time to think of those people around the world who are still slaves or unable to be free. In addition there is also a lavish meal. The first course is a hard boiled egg in salt water which represents the tears of both those who were and still are slaves. It can be a tense occasion if some family members are less interested in the story than others. Mothers, who often do most of the work don’t always feel appreciated and old grievances can rise to the surface.
It’s a time to take a deep breath, be tolerant, help out and accept Passover only comes round once a year.