Easter and Passover, among the most important religious holidays for Christians and Jews, have long been a part of American life.
A brief look at some of the related history and customs allows us to see the degree to which religion has influenced American politics and culture, as well as the influence of America’s tradition of religious tolerance and freedom – embedded in the Bill of Rights – on the religious practices of her citizens.
The quiz below, from the Ashbrook Center at Ashland University, Ashland, Ohio, provides an opportunity for you to test your knowledge of these holidays as they have been observed in American history.
1. What prominent American religious leader said love was the most durable power in the world in an Easter sermon?
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(A) Lyman Beecher
(B) Cotton Mather
(C) Martin Luther King Jr.
(D) A.C. Dixon
2. Who was the first president to have a Passover Seder in the White House?
(A) George Washington
(B) Barack Obama
(C) George W. Bush
(D) Franklin Delano Roosevelt
3. Which president was born on Easter weekend?
(A) John F. Kennedy
(B) James Monroe
(C) Thomas Jefferson
(D) Ulysses S. Grant
4. Which of the following occurred after Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on Good Friday?
(A) Jews sang mourning songs instead of Passover melodies
(B) Churches painted Easter lilies black
(C) Some compared Lincoln to Jesus Christ
(D) All of the above
5. Which president started the White House Easter egg roll?
(A) George Washington
(B) Rutherford B. Hayes
(C) Theodore Roosevelt
(D) Lyndon B. Johnson
6. Which well-known American poet referenced the Passover meal in a poem about the Touro Synagogue, the oldest Jewish place of worship in the United States?
(A) Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
(B) William Cullen Bryant
(C) James Russell Lowell
(D) William Carlos Williams
7. Who started Easter sunrise services in the United States?
(A) Presbyterians from Scotland in the 18th century
(B) Moravians from Germany in the 18th century
(C) Puritans from England in the 17th century
(D) Catholics from Poland in the 19th century
8. Which city in the United States is known as the Easter city?
(A) Rockport, Maine
(B) St. Augustine, Florida
(C) Old Salem, North Carolina
(D) Gloucester, Massachusetts
9. What did Jewish merchant Aaron Lopez send to Newport, Rhode Island, to support the patriot cause during the Revolutionary War?
(A) Gunpowder for muskets
(B) A rabbi as chaplain to soldiers
(C) Flour for the Seder matzot
(D) Wax extracted from whale oil to make candles
10. Which famous African-American compared Passover to the Fourth of July in a famous speech?
(A) Martin Luther King Jr.
(B) Frederick Douglass
(C) Jackie Robinson
(D) Booker T. Washington
ANSWERS: 1. c; 2. b; 3. c; 4. d; 5. b; 6. a; 7. b; 8. c; 9. c; 10. b
David and Ellen Tucker are, respectively, senior fellow and publications editor at the Ashbrook Center. Together with Sarah Morgan Smith, they edited “Religion in American History and Politics: 25 Core Documents.” They wrote this for InsideSources.com.