Andover students celebrated religious holidays both on and off campus this past weekend. Friday, March 30, was both the Christian holiday of Good Friday, which commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and marked the beginning of the Jewish observance of Passover, which remembers the freeing of Israelites from Egyptian slavery. This year, Easter, a holiday that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, fell on Sunday, April 1.
Chi Igbokwe ’21 celebrated Easter off campus with some friends by going to a local church downtown.
“[For Easter] I went downtown with three other people… I wanted to go to a church that I feel would observe it in a different way,” said Igbokwe.
Igbokwe felt that there was a difference between celebrating Easter in town versus at home in Kentucky, noting that the service in Andover felt less personalized.
“For the Andover church service, I definitely feel a lot of the time it’s more vague, or more open to interpretation,” said Igbokwe.
Because Amelia Cheng ’21 is a day student, she celebrated both Good Friday and Easter with her family. Cheng has been going to the same church for as long as she can remember.
“Every Easter my family and I always go to our church. We’ve been going to the same church my entire life. So it’s just really fun because, especially for the Good Friday service, it’s so symbolic, the service that we go to at night. And every year, it just somehow touches all of our hearts. It’s a great experience to feel closer to God and also closer to one another,” said Cheng.
Passover will continue to be celebrated until this Saturday, so Jewish students who went home to celebrate are also spending some of their holidays in the campus communities. Shira Wolpowitz ’21 notes that, although the school does make an effort to accommodate Jewish students during this week, she made some preparations on her own.
“You have a lot of dietary restrictions on Passover that you don’t usually have… [Paresky] Commons is trying to give you food that you can eat, but I brought a whole bunch of food back with me because I just don’t really think that there are going to be that many options, and I want to be able to eat,” said Wolpowitz.
Lizzy Glazer ’21, a Jewish student observing Passover, visited home to be with her family for the first two Seders, which are Jewish ritual services and ceremonial dinners that take place on the first few nights of Passover. Although Glazer was able to connect with her family, she noted some differences in her celebration that come with living at school as well as some family traditions she missed out on.
“I wasn’t able to get there for the entire Seder, so sadly I was a little late to celebrate with all of them… but luckily since I live so close, I was able to come home for Friday night. So I was able to go to the Friday night Seder and the Saturday night Seder,” said Glazer.
Glazer continued, “One thing that I missed out on was being able to cook. My grandma and I [used to] help prepare everything and cook the Seder, and then we’d all eat together.”
Like Glazer, Wolpowitz returned home for Seder and enjoyed spending time with family and friends.
Wolpowitz said, “Usually we have a whole bunch of family friends over so that’s fun, but we don’t really have that many traditions for this holiday… It’s fun to when we’re talking about the stories of Passover. It’s fun because my family uses little puppets.”
Glazer’s family also incorporated some fun into their Seder meals.
“They have this thing called the four questions where — in Hebrew — the youngest of the family usually sings the four questions, and so my younger brother is the one to sing it to everyone, and it’s really cute because sometimes we all just end up singing together because he doesn’t really remember,” said Glazer.
Cheng’s family tradition of eating a meal together at Easter remains an important part of the day. As they eat together, her family emphasizes thinking not only about spiritual relationships but also about personal ones.
“My family, we get together on Easter. We at least try to have a meal together. Usually it’s dinner… It’s a lot of time just to really think about one another, how much we mean to each other, and how we change each other,” said Cheng.