Difference between Passover and Easter

Key Difference: Passover is a major Jewish festival commemorating the liberation of the children of Israel, by Moses, from the abject slavery and domination of the Pharaohs. Easter is the most important festival in the Christian calendar, which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, after he was publicly crucified.

Passover is a festival celebrated by Jews all over the world. It is celebrated for seven to eight days, which might vary in accordance with the geographical location that a Jewish family might be falling in. The reason why Passover is so named lies in a popular story of the Jews, which is an integral part of their folklore. The story goes that Moses visited Pharaoh time after time, in order to coax him into releasing the Israeli natives. In turn, Pharaoh never relented from his stance. This led to Moses warning the Pharaoh about the horrible plagues that God would hurl at Egypt, if he does not release the Israelites. God also told Moses that the Israelites should blot their doorposts with lamb’s blood, so that they could be secured from these plagues, when God ‘passes over’ their houses. Aghast by this revelation, the Pharaoh finally gave in and let the Israelites go. Hence, the festival derived its name as Passover.

The festival of Easter is celebrated over a week, which is also known as the ‘Holy Week’. The week starts off with ‘Palm Sunday’, the day on which Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, riding on a donkey. The people that had come out to greet him on the day threw palm branches on the road. Following this tradition, Anglican and Roman Catholic churches distribute miniature crosses made of palm leaves among the people, to this very day. The Thursday before the Easter Day is known as the ‘Maundy Thursday’. This was the day on which Jesus had his ‘Last Supper’, a Passover meal that he shared with his disciples that included wine and bread. The word ‘Maundy’ comes from the fact that during the supper, Jesus preached to one and all by a mandate, to always have love and affection, along with care for one another. The Friday following the Maundy Thursday is celebrated as ‘Good Friday’. This was the day on which Jesus was crucified to death. On this day, Christians all over the world mourn for the suffering and death of Christ and its significance in terms of their religion. The Sunday after Good Friday is marked as the ‘Easter Sunday’, the main day of the festival. This was the day when God resurrected Jesus from his death. This is the day on which the week long Easter festival culminates.

Comparison between Passover and Easter:





Passover is a Jewish festival.

Easter is celebrated by Christians all over the world.

Purpose of celebration

Liberation of Israelites from the Pharaohs.

Rebirth of Jesus Christ

Prophet/ Central Figure


Jesus Christ


Passover is celebrated across seven to eight days consecutively.

Easter is celebrated over a week’s time.


Passover is one of the many important festivals in the Jewish calendar.

Easter is ‘the’ most important festival in the Christian calendar.

Image Courtesy: nierocks.areavoices.com, elpaso411.com

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