History of Holocaust Remembrance Day
Today, April 8, is Holocaust Remembrance Day. It is a part of Holocaust Days of Remembrance, established by the U.S. Congress as the nation’s annual commemoration of the Holocaust. The U.S. Army remembers the six million Jewish and millions of other victims of the Holocaust and honors the survivors’ resilience.
In Hebrew, Holocaust Remembrance Day is called Yom Hashoah.
The internationally recognized date for Holocaust Remembrance Day corresponds to the 27th day of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar. It marks the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
I have been to three of the most renowned among the almost 44,000 Concentration Camps established between 1933 and 1945 by the Nazi regime.
You may be asking yourself, “Self,” you ask, “where are they now?” And well you might ask. What happened to our players AFTER the events in the Easter story?
You may remember that I had said Antipas‘ taking as his own wife his brother’s wife Herodias led to his ruin. Actually, it led to his exile and death. Her ambition pushed him where he would not have otherwise gone. Antipas’ nephew and Herodias’ brother, Herod Agrippa (who we meet in the New Testament book the Acts of the Apostles as one of the early persecutors of the new church) had spent and borrowed much money while he was in Palestine. Herodius suggested that her husband Antipas help her brother Agrippa financially but they argued. Agrippa lived much of his time in Rome and was a close friend of the future Emperor Gaius (the infamous Caligula). While riding in a chariot with Caligula, Agrippa commented that he could not wait until the then Emperor Tiberius was no longer Caesar so that Caligula might have his rightful place. A loyal slave overhearing this relayed it to Tiberius who had Agrippa thrown into prison.
HISTORY OF EASTER
The most joyous of Christian festivals and one of the first celebrated by Christians across the Roman Empire commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is set on the first Sunday after the full moon following the vernal equinox. The English word Easter corresponding to the German “Oster,” reveals the association of many Easter customs with those of the Teutonic tribes of central Europe.
When Christianity reached these people, it incorporated many of their “heathen” (of the heath) rites into the great Christian feast day, according to the Venerable Bede, a monk who wrote the first history of Christianity in England. Easter month, corresponding to our April was dedicated to Eostre, or Ostara, goddess of the spring. This was in common with the time of spring and the triumph of life over death. (more…)
HISTORY OF GOOD FRIDAY
For centuries pilgrims have walked the Via Dolorosa, “the way of sorrow” in Jerusalem, following the path Jesus took on Good Friday. Starting at the judgment seat of Pilate at the Antonia Fortress in the eastern part of the city immediately north of the Temple, the path follows 14 “Stations of the Cross” to the ultimate location at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the traditional site of the crucifixion and burial. Several years ago, I walked this road, and though historically anachronistic — some of these roads did not exist during the time of Christ — nevertheless, it leaves one with a profound sense of historical gravitas.
Crucifixion on Good Friday
Following Pilate‘s sentence, Jesus was led away to be crucified. Crucifixion was a form of torture and execution developed by the Persians between 300-400 B.C. and practiced by many ancient societies, including Carthage, India, Scythia, Assyria, and Germanic tribes. The Phoenicians were probably the first to use a transverse cross beam rather than just an upright stake in the ground. From the Phoenicians, the Romans adopted this practice as the primary means of execution of rebellious slaves and provincials who were not Roman citizens. (more…)
April Fools’ Day, or All Fools’ Day, is the name given to the custom of playing practical jokes on friends on that day or sending them on fools’ errands. The origin of this custom has been much disputed; it is in some way a relic of those once universal festivities held at the vernal equinox, which, beginning on the old New Year’s Day celebrations of March 25, ended on April 1.
Another view is that it is a farcical commemoration of Jesus’ trials during Passion Week in Jerusalem when he was sent from Annas‘ House to Caiaphas‘ Palace to Pontius Pilate‘s Praetorium to Herod‘s Hasmonean Palace and back to Pilate again… which culminated in his crucifixion on Good Friday, which may have been April 1. (more…)
Beginning Thursday night and extending into Friday morning of Holy Week, the trial of Jesus which led to his crucifixion was, in reality, a series of about half a dozen trials, which were distributed across several locations in Jerusalem.
Some of these locations are captured in the tradition of the Via Dolorosa, the Way of Sorrow, a series of sites that Christian pilgrims take through the streets of modern Jerusalem commemorating the last hours before Jesus’ arrival at Golgotha on Good Friday.
HISTORY OF WORLD BACKUP DAY
There isn’t much history, as the first celebration of this geek holiday was in 2011. World Backup Day is only a decade old.
But the need is real, now more than ever before. Especially in light of this salient fact: April Fools’ Day. March 31, the day before, is an excellent time to check your backups. On the eve of the day famous for pranks, this might be your last chance.
You may have learned at the University of Hard Knocks that it’s not a question of “if” you’re going to lose your data, but “when.” Having a redundant copy of it can make all the difference, and you may be able to skip the course at U of HK on Pulling Your Hair Out.
Amid the bustle of Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter, Maundy Thursday is easy to overlook. Few calendars label it, and some churches don’t observe it at all, though it may be the oldest of the Holy Week observances. It’s worth asking why, and how, generations of Christians have revered this day.
The Middle English word “Maundy” comes from the Latin mandatum, meaning “command.” The reference is Jesus’ words to his disciples in John 13:34:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.“
Jesus spoke those words at the Last Supper, which took place the Thursday before Easter.
Sunset tonight, March 27, marks the beginning of Passover. Exodus 12 in the Hebrew Bible tells the story of Passover from the life of Moses. Ten plagues were visited upon the Egyptian pharaoh (starring Yul Brenner in The Ten Commandments, but he was much better in “The King and I”) to get his attention to release the Children of Israel from bondage.
The final plague was the death of the first-born son visited upon the land by the angel of death. The Jews were to smear the blood of a sacrificed lamb upon their doorposts so that the angel of death would “Passover” them unharmed. Pharaoh relented and released the Israelites. The Israelite slaves took the “road out” of Egypt; the Greek word is Exodus.
Seder of Passover
In making their hasty exit, the Jews did not have time to let their bread rise, so in commemoration, they celebrate the Passover Seder (“order”) meal with unleavened bread (matzo), bitter herbs, and roast lamb to be eaten in traveling garb. The term Passover is often used interchangeably with the term Feast of Unleavened Bread at least in St. Luke’s Gospel (Chapter 22:1,) though the first century Pharisees marked the seven-day feast to begin on the day after Passover. Nevertheless, during the seven days celebration following Passover, only unleavened bread was eaten. In present-day celebration, all yeast is to be removed from a Jewish house during this time.