Spring New Shoulder Moon
The full new shoulder moon hangs over Black Mountain right now. It’s the middle of Nisan in the Jewish lunar calendar, the first month of the year. Passover is a spring festival, not unlike the ones in Asia that we tend to call Chinese and Korean New Year. It’s especially similar to the Korean Spring Festival. At that festival the whole nation eats tteokguk, rice cake soup. When they finish the soup, they are all one year older. Passover reinforces a sense of tribal (national) identity for Jews all around the world through eating the Seder meal.
It was also Easter yesterday. Easter marks out Christianity’s most unusual and defining theological belief, that Jesus died on the cross and rose three days later, defeating death. Strip away all the institutional hoo-hah accreted over the last two thousand plus years, all the dogma spun out of the dross of fevered thought, and this is what Christianity means: death is either an illusion or temporary. Without the resurrection Christianity is a watered down Judaism, a Middle Eastern faith borne of a particular moment in time in a particular ethnic space. Resurrection is its bid for universality and a good one.
It was a big weekend for Middle Eastern religion, two of the three distinctive monotheisms, the Abrahamic faiths, celebrated key events in their sacred years. I feel both part of these events and to the side of them. I have incorporated the secular understanding of liberation and Jewish identity underscored by pesach and the pagan meaning of resurrection found in the rites of spring. They are part of me now.