What is Passover? When is Passover? Passover history

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Tuesday, 31/05/2016 05:05

What is Passover? Passover or Pesach, is an important, biblically derived Jewish festival. The Jewish people celebrate Passover as a commemoration of their liberation by God from slavery in Egypt and their freedom as a nation under the leadership of Moses. It commemorates the story of the Exodus as described in the Hebrew Bible especially in the Book of Exodus, in which the Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt. According to standard biblical chronology, this event would have taken place at about 1300 BCE (AM 2450). Let's check out to know more about Jewish Passover, Passover seder, food, happy Passover, Haggadah and find out when is Passover?

Happy Passover

Happy Passover

When is Passover Celebrated?

Passover begins on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan, which typically falls in March or April of the Gregorian calendar. This year, Passover will start at the sunset of Friday 3 April and end on the evening of Saturday 11 April.

How is the festival celebrated?

Passover is divided into two celebrations. On the first two days and the last two days, Jewish people light holiday candles at night and prepare special meals, abstaining from working, driving, writing or using electrical items. During the middle four days, known as chol hamoed, semi-festive "intermediate days", most forms of work are permitted.

What foods are eaten during Passover?

Passover symbol


Passover symbol

An unleavened bread called matzah is traditionally eaten in commemoration of the Jews fleeing Egypt, as they are said to have escaped in such a rush that their bread did not have time to rise.

During the festival, Jewish communities try not to consume any "chametz" – meaning food or drink that contains leavened grain. This includes bread, sweets, cereal, pasta and most alcoholic beverages. Water to be used in matzah baking must be left to stand overnight to ensure that it is allowed to cool. This water is then referred to as mayim shelanu, meaning water which has "slept".

What is the Seder?

It is traditional for Jewish families to gather on the first night of Passover – the first two nights in communities outside of Israel – for a dinner called a seder, derived from the word for "order" in Hebrew.

Jewish Passover seder table setting

Jewish Passover seder table setting

During the meal, the story of the exodus from Egypt is retold using a special text called the Haggadah and four cups of wine are drunk at various stages during the narrative. An extra cup is left for the prophet Elijah, who is believed to reappear and announce the coming of the Messiah.

On the table, there are three unleavened breads on top of each other. At the start of the Seder, the middle matzah is broken and the largest piece is hidden for the children to find – whoever finds it receives a small prize.

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