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Conversation Starters for Passover and Easter

How do we effectively communicate about the holidays of Passover and Easter as interfaith couples? Read on for tips.

In many religions and cultures, spring is a time for rebirth and renewal. In Judaism, the holiday of Passover celebrates not just spring, but also the Jewish people’s freedom from slavery in Egypt. For Christians, the major holiday of Easter falls around the same time—some years it even overlaps. This can be a fun time filled with celebrations, but it can also present challenges around how to celebrate both holidays, where to celebrate them, what to do if you have kids and how to handle it when Easter falls on Passover. Because Passover comes with food restrictions that many Jewish people follow to varying degrees, food can become one of the trickiest aspects of the holidays when they coincide.

Whether you or your partner grew up Jewish, whether this is your first time celebrating Passover or you’re a pro at making matzah ball soup, here are some questions for you and your partner to consider together about approaching Passover and Easter from your respective religious and/or cultural traditions. 

Passover and Easter Conversation Starters

What was it like for you the first time you celebrated your partner’s spring holiday?

Share with your partner any surprises you faced, or anything about their holiday that you find challenging or uncomfortable. Do you have a favorite aspect of your partner’s holiday? If there is anything you want to learn more about, what do you think would be the best way to do so? Are there ways your partner could help you feel more comfortable celebrating their holiday (at your own home; when you spend the holiday with family or friends; or when you attend church or a seder for the holiday)?

What’s your favorite feature about your own spring holiday?  

Share with your partner memories you have about your holiday from growing up. What was the most meaningful or fun part of the holiday for you? Were there aspects of your holiday that were and/or are challenging? Think about which parts of the holiday you wish your partner understood more, and how you (or someone else) may be able to explain those in a way that makes sense to them.

Think about how you do or do not share these holidays with your partner.

Are there ways that it’s important for you to have your partner celebrate your holiday with you? Are there other components that aren’t as important? With respect to your partner’s holiday, are there some ways you want to share their holiday with them? Are there aspects of their holiday you aren’t comfortable being part of, and if so why?  

Passover and Easter both have festive meals associated with them.

What are your favorite foods from the holiday you grew up celebrating? Do you have any favorite foods from your partner’s holiday? Try cooking these dishes together (find Passover recipes here)! When Passover and Easter overlap, it can be a challenge for some couples. Since Passover restricts eating bread and other foods, if one or both of you follow these restrictions, you may not be able to partake in special foods that your partner or their family is used to eating on Easter. How do you handle this if you are planning to celebrate Easter in your own home? What if you are planning to celebrate Easter at a family member or friends’ home? If you are the Jewish partner, do you find it uncomfortable being around foods that aren’t kosher for Passover? If you are the Christian partner, does it bother you that there are certain foods your partner may not eat on Easter? What is a good way for you to handle this as a couple?

For those who have or wish to have kids in the future…

What do you hope Passover and Easter are like for your kids? Are there experiences from your own childhood that you want to recreate for your kids? Are there holiday experiences you grew up with that you want to avoid? What about your partner’s holiday? Are there aspects of your partner’s holiday that you do or don’t want your kids to experience? What are your feelings about kids learning about the Easter Bunny and hunting for Easter eggs?

Molly Kazin Marshall

Molly is the Boston Community Director at 18Doors