Holidays – The Passover And Spring Festival

The Passover And Spring Festival

The Passover and Spring Festival are both the biggest holidays of the year among their people, and they have many similarities, but only one can change your life today!

A Quick History Of Both Festivals

  • Passover has its origins in the Bible. According to the Bible, the Israelites had become slaves in Egypt under Pharaoh. God promised that He would deliver them. Pharaoh refused to let them go, and God brought ten plagues upon the Egyptian people. The last plague was the first Passover. God warned the Egyptians that if they didn’t let His people go, He would kill all of their firstborn children. He also told Israel to kill a lamb and put its blood on the doorposts and lintels. Then when the time came, He would “pass over” all the houses that had the blood and spared their firstborn from death. The Israelites obeyed God and were saved their firstborns spared. The Egyptians didn’t, and their firstborns died. Pharaoh finally released the Israelites. The Israelites were to have a feast every year so they and future generations would remember God’s deliverance.
    Exodus 6:6; 8:1; 12:8, 21–29
  • Spring Festival has its origins in Chinese mythology. According to the tales, there was a mythical beast called “Nian.” Nian lived in the mountains or under the sea. Every spring Nian would come to the villages in China and eat the animals or villagers, especially the children. A “god” revealed to one of the villagers that he should put red paper on his house and use firecrackers to protect themselves against the Nian. This resulted in using the color red and things that make large sounds to scare away the Nian. It worked, and it never came back. As a result and over time the red spring scrolls, red lanterns, red robes, firecrackers, putting food outside, lion dances and drums all became traditions.

The Similarities Of Both Festivals

  • The Passover and Spring Festival are both celebrated in the first month of the year according to the Lunar calendar. Passover is on the fourteenth day of the Hebrew month Nisan and goes for seven days. Spring Festival is the last day of the month of the Chinese lunar calendar and goes until the fifteenth day of the first month.
    Exodus 12:2
  • During the Passover, each family unit (and sometimes neighbors) would take a male lamb of the first year without blemish and kill it the evening of Passover. During Spring Festival, some families would also kill a pig, chicken or fish without a blemish on New Year’s Eve.
Exodus 12:3-5
  • At Passover, when they killed the Passover lamb they would put the blood in a basin and then take a bunch of hyssops, dip it in the blood and strike the lintel and the two side-posts. Then they would stay in the house until morning. This was done so that God would not kill their firstborn child. At Spring Festival, they take red paper and past it on the lintel and the two side-posts. Then they would stay in the house until morning. This was done so that the Nian (mythical beasts) wouldn’t eat their children and to bring good luck for the new year. The Spring Festival is also referred to as “Guo Nian” which literally means to “pass over” the Nian.
    Exodus 12:12, 21–22, 46
  • At Passover, they would have a feast at night with their families and possibly their neighbors. They would eat the lamb, unleavened bread, and bitter herbs. During Chinese New Year, they have a reunion feast with their family. They would also eat meat and similar foods such as flat sweet cakes that were unleavened and bitter vegetables.
    Exodus 12:8
  • The first day and the last day (seventh day) of the Passover was considered a “holy convocation” and they were not to work on those days and could only prepare what they would eat. Spring festival also has many days off of work, especially the first day.
    Exodus 12:16
  • On the first day of the Passover, they were to clean their house of or put away any leaven (if they didn’t and ate leavened bread their soul shall be cut off from Israel). The days before Spring Festival are spent thoroughly cleaning the house with the belief that you are sweeping away the bad luck and preparing for good luck in the new year.
    Exodus 12:15
  • Other similarities in both traditions including not breaking any bones of the animal being eaten at the feast, giving of gifts or asking neighbors for them, having to eat in a special way and prayer or remembrance before the feasts.
    Exodus11:2-3; 12:11, 14, 35-36, 46

The Truth Of Both Festivals

  • The Spring Festival myth is an evolved imaginary story traced back thousands of years. The Passover record is an unchanged story of true events also traced back thousands of years. Although the exact date of both stories is unknown, they both can be traced back about 3,400 years ago. The myth could be a retelling of the true events although this can’t be confirmed, the similarities could be considered as small hints of God inserted into Chinese history, no matter how they got there, and a greater truth can be understood when compared to the Passover.
  • God saved the Israelites because of their act of faith in the Passover lamb. The Passover represents God’s deliverance and points to Jesus as our Passover Lamb. If we by faith believe in Jesus, who was killed like a lamb at Passover, then God will “pass over” you because the blood of Jesus will be applied to your account—you will be saved!
    John 1:29; 1 Corinthians 5:7; Luke 22:7–8; Revelation 5:9–12
  • Finding the gospel in the Spring Festival myth: (1) Death—the villagers were scared of death, specifically the death of their children. They were looking for a way to escape the one who brought death. Every person will face death one day, is there a way of escape? (2) Salvation—the villagers realized they could use red paper on their doors to scare away the one who brought death. Red paper can’t save you, but the blood of Jesus can. The blood in the Passover story pointed to the death of Jesus on the cross, where He died to pay the price for our sins. (3) Celebration—the villagers celebrated that they had the victory. Jesus didn’t stay dead, but He rose from the dead, proving He has the victory and giving us the ultimate reason to celebrate.

Review Questions

  • What is the origin of Passover?
  • What is the origin of Spring Festival?
  • What are some of the similarities of both?
  • What is the greater truth that the Passover points to?
  • Can the gospel be seen in the Spring Festival myth when compared to the Passover?

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