Thursday, April 2, 2015

A Pop Quiz for Passover and Easter

The parting of the Red Sea

Dear George,
We are right in the thick of Holy Week.  Passover begins tomorrow (Fri., Apr. 3), and Easter follows on Sunday (Apr. 5).  Growing up, our family was not very religious, but we did make a fuss about Easter.  It was the one time we were certain to attend the First Presbyterian Church service, and we decorated Easter eggs, searched the house for candy and treats from the Easter bunny, and enjoyed a special family dinner, sometimes a goose or turkey, prepared by my mother.  Katja’s family was more conscientious and held or attended a Passover seder each year.  Once we were married we did that occasionally ourselves, then attended seders at Hillel at for a number of years.  While I was only modestly interested in my youth, these traditions take on deeper interest as one gains perspective on life.  For the fun of it, here is a quiz to test one’s knowledge about Passover and Easter.  Readers are invited to see how they do.  For comparison purposes, Katja got 25 of 28, and I got 9.  You should be able to beat 9, but 25 is a high standard.  The answer key is given at the end, and the numbers in parentheses at the end of each item refer to the sources listed below from which the information was obtained. 

1.  Passover celebrates:
(a) the exodus of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt
(b) the first day of the Jewish New Year
(c) the miracle of a one-day supply of olive oil lasting eight days
(d) the day that God gave Moses the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai  (1)

2.  Approximately how many years ago was Passover first celebrated?
(a) 770
(b) 2,200
(c) 3,300
(d) 5,500 (12)

3.  The Hebrew word for Passover is:
(a) Gerizim
(b) D'rash
(c) Pesach
(d) Shavuot  (12)

4.  Passover is also known as the Feast of:
(a) gefilte fish
(b) unleavened bread
(c) homentashen
(d) the Blood of the Lamb  (2)

5.  Passover lasts for:
(a) one day
(b) two days
(c) four or five days
(d) seven or eight days  (1)

6.  The English name "Pass over" refers to:
(a) the Jews passing over the Red Sea
(b) the Jews passing over the desert to Mt. Sinai
(c) God passing over the first-born males in Jewish homes
(d) the spirits of deceased Jews passing over to a better world   (12)

7.  The name of the Jewish religious text which gives the story of Passover is the:
(a) Haggadah
(b) Midrash
(c) Zohar
(d) Septuagint (1)

8.  Who is the most important figure in the Passover story?
(a) Abraham
(b) David
(c) Joshua
(d) Moses  (2)

9.  On which nights of Passover does the seder meal take place?
(a) The first two nights
(b) The last two nights
(c) The middle two nights
(d) The first and last night  (2)

10.  How many cups of wine are consumed during the seder?
(a) Two
(b) Four
(c) Six
(d) eight  (12)

11.  At the seder the youngest child asks, "Why is this night different from all other nights?"  This is followed by how many questions? 
(a) Four
(b) Six
(c) Eight
(d) Ten (12)

12.  Which of the following foods would definitely NOT be served at Passover?
(a) Rye bread with lox
(b) Latkes
(c) Salmon patties
(d) Sweet and sour meatballs  (6)

13.  On the seder table there is a symbolic fifth cup of wine for the Prophet:
(a) Isaac
(b) Solomon
(c) Elijah
(d) Ezekiel  (5)

14.  The afikoman is:
(a) a toy that is spun like a top
(b) an empty chair that is saved for a visitor
(c) a prayer that is offered before the drinking of wine
(d) a piece of matzo  (5)

15.  Easter celebrates:
(a) Christ’s birth
(b) Christ’s crucifixion
(c) Christ’s resurrection
(d) Christ’s ascension to Heaven (10)

16.  Easter is also known as:
(a) Paxal
(b) Pastal
(c) Patchuil
(d) Pascha  (10)

17.  According to the New Testament, Jesus ascended to Heaven:
(a) on the day of his resurrection
(b) on the day after his resurrection
(c) seven days after his resurrection
(d) forty days after his resurrection (9)

18.  Lent begins forty days before Easter on:
(a) Palm Sunday
(b) Ash Wednesday
(c) Maundy Thursday
(d) Fat Tuesday  (4)

19.  The Wednesday before Easter is called:
(a)  Spy Wednesday
(b) Penitence Wednesday
(c) Alms Wednesday
(d) Judgment Wednesday  (10)

20.  Maundy Thursday is important because it is the day on which:
(a) the Romans imprisoned Jesus
(b) Jesus returned from forty days in the wilderness
(c) Jesus held the Last Supper with his disciples
(d) Judas betrayed Jesus  (3)

21.  Many historians and scholars believe that the word "Easter" derives from Estre, an Anglo Saxon goddess of:
(a) spiritual love
(b) spring and fertility
(c) faith and redemption
(d) life after death   (7)

22.  The Feast of Easter was well established in Christendom by the:
(a) first century
(b) second century
(c) ninth century
(d) fifteenth century  (8)

23.  Sunrise services on Easter Sunday morning commemorate:
(a) Mary Magdalene's arrival at the empty tomb
(b) the time of day of Jesus' return to life
(c) the beginning of the day of Jesus' crucifixion
(d) Jesus' ascension to Heaven  (7)

24.  The Easter egg is known as a symbol of:
(a) God’s presence in nature
(b) the Last Supper
(c) the Afterlife
(d) the empty tomb of Jesus  (10) 

25.  What flower associated with Easter is a symbol of the Resurrection?
(a) The hyacinth
(b) The lily
(c) The azalea
(d) The daffodil  (10)

26.  In many Catholic churches Good Friday services begin at the precise time that Jesus is believed to have died on the Cross, namely:
(a) high noon
(b) three o’clock
(c) six o’clock
(d) eight p.m.  (4)

27.  The most commonly served meat at Easter dinners in America is:
(a) ham
(b) turkey
(c) steak
(d) pork  (4)

28.  The tradition of the Easter Bunny bringing Easter eggs to children originated in the Middle Ages in:
(a) England
(b) France
(c) Germany
(d) Poland  (11)

The answer key is given below.  Some people will find this quiz easy, and some may find it harder. Passover and Easter, of course, are historically intertwined.  Pascha, the alternate name for Easter, was originally the name of Passover.  The Last Supper, which Jesus ate with his disciples before his crucifixion, was a Passover Seder.  The early Christians, many of whom had been brought up in a Jewish tradition, regarded Easter as a new version of Passover.  (8)  Even though I made up this quiz, I did pretty poorly.  Maybe I should brush up on my religious studies.


1.a.  Passover celebrates the exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt.
2.c.  Passover was first celebrated over 3,300 years ago.
3.c.  Pesach is the Hebrew word for Passover.
4.b.  Passover is also known as the Feast of Unleavened Bread. 
5.d.  Passover last for seven days in Israel and 8 days elsewhere.
6.c.  "Pass over" refers to God passing over Jewish homes when killing the first-born sons in Egypt.
7.a.  The Haggadah gives the story of Passover.
8.d.  Moses is the most important figure in the Passover story (even though he is mentioned only once in the Haggadah).
9.a.  The seder meal is held on the first two nights of Passover.
10.b.  Four cups of wine are consumed at various steps during the seder.
11.a.  The youngest child asks four questions  about the seder.
12.a.  Rye bread, because it is leavened, would never be served at Passover.
13.c.  The fifth cup of wine is for Elijah.
14.d.  The afikoman is a piece of matzo which is hidden for the children to find and is the last piece of food eaten at the seder. 
15.a.  Easter celebrates Christ's resurrection.
16.d.  Easter is also known as Pascha.
17.d.  Jesus ascended to Heaven forty days after his resurrection
18.b. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, named after the practice of placing ashes on the heads of participants.
19.a. The Wednesday before Easter is called Spy Wednesday because it is believed to be the day on which Judas decided to betray Jesus.
20.c.  Jesus and his disciples had the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday.
21.b.  Eostre was the pagan goddess of spring and fertility.
22.b.  Easter was well established by the second century. 
23.a.  Sunrise services commemorate Mary Magdalene's arrival at the empty tomb.
24.d.  The Easter egg is known as a symbol of the empty tomb of Jesus.
25.b.  The lily is a symbol of the Resurrection. 
26.b.  Jesus is believed to have died on the cross at three o'clock.
27.a.  Ham is the most commonly served meat at Easter.
28.c.  The Easter Bunny tradition is believed to have originated in Germany

(1), “What is Passover?”;
(2), "Passover Trivia";
(3), "Easter";
(4), “Did You Know?  Facts & Figures About the Holiday of Easter”;
(5), “Ten Important Passover Facts”;
(6), "Passover-Pesach";
(7), "What is Easter?";
(8), “History of Easter”;  
(9), "Ascension of Jesus";
(10), “Easter”;
(11), “Easter bunny”;
(12), "Passover"

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