The Significance of Passover
Passover is a springtime Jewish festival celebrating the early Israelites’ exodus from Egypt and freedom from slavery
Passover begins with the 15th and ends with the 21st or (outside of Israel and among Reform Jews, the 22nd day) of the month of Nisan (March or April). On these seven (or eight) days, all leaven, whether in bread or other mixture, is prohibited, and only unleavened bread, called matzo, may be eaten.
The matzo symbolizes both the Hebrews’ suffering while in bondage and the haste with which they left Egypt in the course of the Exodus. Passover is also sometimes called the Festival of Unleavened Bread. In 2021, Passover is celebrated from Sunday, March 28th to Sunday, April 4th.
Passover is often celebrated with great pomp and ceremony, especially on the first night, when a special family meal called the seder is held. At the seder, foods of symbolic significance commemorating the Hebrews’ liberation are eaten, and prayers and traditional recitations are performed. Though the festival of Passover is meant to be one of great rejoicing, strict dietary laws must be observed, and special prohibitions restrict work at the beginning and end of the celebration.
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Written by Ian Cross, edited by Kaz Bosali