Not only Jewish Americans celebrate Passover

April 04, 2015, 7:32 PM GMT+0

Large numbers of non-Jewish Americans say they celebrate Passover

The word on this month’s religious holidays is like the old ad for Levy’s rye bread…you don’t have to be Jewish to love Passover.

More than one in five Americans in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll claim that they celebrate Passover. While that percentage is far smaller than the 79% who celebrate Easter, it is also much larger than the estimated 2 to 3% of the U.S. population that is Jewish. More than one in four Christians say they celebrate Passover, and 83% of those who celebrate Passover also celebrate Easter.

The two holidays converge this year, as Good Friday and the first night of Passover are on the same day. And, of course, the first Holy Thursday supper was a Passover Seder. So it may not be surprising that some Christians are celebrating both, not to mention that many non-Jews have always been invited to Seders. Born-again Christians are even more likely to report that they will celebrate Passover this year: more than a third of born again Christians (35%) say they will.

Both celebrations are likely to involve time with family: two-thirds of those who celebrate Easter will have a family gathering over the weekend, and nearly half of those who celebrate Passover say they will attend a Seder (though second night Seders will have fewer attendees).

More than half of those who celebrate Easter will attend church: Easter Sunday traditionally has the highest church attendance of any Sunday in the U.S. Reported attendance is particularly high in the South, and among those 65 years of age or older. Nearly half of those who observe Easter decorate Easter eggs, and that percentage is highest among those in the age groups most likely to have children at home.

Nearly a quarter of the public will take time off from work for one or both of these holidays. Perhaps because the first Passover Seder takes place on a Friday (while Easter is on a Sunday) more people who celebrate Passover will take time off this year than will those who celebrate Easter.

See the full poll results

Economist/YouGov poll archives can be found here.