1-5 Jewish Celebrations


As chart 1-5 shows, many of these Jewish holy days are mentioned in the New Testament. Jesus went to Jerusalem to observe Passover, Tabernacles, and other sacred festivals. Early Christians gathered for the feast of Pentecost, and other days in the life cycle of the people of the day play a role in the texts of the New Testament. The birthday of Herod Antipas is mentioned, probably reflecting Greek or Roman influence, for most Jewish people did not celebrate birthdays. For the pious Jew, life began with circumcision, not birth, and perhaps for this reason, birthday parties do not figure in the New Testament and the birth of Jesus narrative culminates with the account of his circumcision (Lk 2:21).


Abraham P. Bloch, The Biblical and Historical Background of the Jewish Holy Days (New York: Ktav, 1978).
James C. Vanderkam, “Weeks, Festival of,” ABD, 6:895-96.