Passover begins on Monday March 25, 2013 and ends on Tuesday, April 2nd. While it is a more somber Jewish holiday, it's still a celebratory one, too.
Celebrated in the Hebrew month of Nissan, Passover commemorates the Israelites freedom from slavery in Ancient Egypt and their following Exodus from the region. As the story goes, God saw the struggle and pain the Israelites endured when enslaved by the Egyptians and sent Moses to the Pharaoh to free His people. When the Pharaoh refused, God set upon Egypt 10 plagues - the last of which was the killing the firstborn of every family.
To protect their own children, God instructed the Israelites to mark their doors with the blood of a spring lamb and the spirit of the Lord "passed over" their homes. This is where the holiday's name derives.
Passover is divided into two separate parts. The first two days and last two days of Passover are holidays unto themselves. During the first days holiday candles are lit at night and traditional Seder meals with friends and family are celebrated. No work is permitted on these days and many Jews also follow the practice of not writing or switching electronic devices on or off.
Between these festive celebrations are four days known as chol hamoed. Though they are also celebratory, work is permitted and meals return to a more normal routine.
The final two days, the special festivities return with delicious feasting with friends and family to commemorate the parting of the Red Sea.
Though much feasting does take place throughout Passover, a period of fasting begins at the end of Passover in remembrance of the unleavened bread the Israelites ate while traveling through the desert. During this time, Matsah, flat unleavened bread, is a very popular food.
Get more Passover history and some Kosher approved recipes to celebrate the holiday, below!
Unleavened flat bread known as Matzo, spelled also Matzoh, is made simply from flour and water. Since the Israelites left Egypt so quickly, it's said their bread did not have time to rise and this is why Matzo plays such an important role in Passover traditions. Served either savory or sweet, depending on your chosen toppings, this kosher recipe is perfect for festive Passover breakfasts and a traditional food of the holiday. Read More
Chicken soup is another traditional food served during Passover. Full of flavor and added texture thanks to matzah balls, it's a delicious entree to serve at Passover. Read More
The Seder meal is a ritualistic dinner at which family and friends gather to celebrate. Carefully set, the table is a reflection of the importance the Seder meal holds. During the meal, the Israelites' story of escape and freedom from Egypt is retold from a special text called the Haggadah. Read More
Remembering why we maintain the traditions we do is critical to appropriately celebrating them. The reading of the Haggadah is an important part of Passover for both children and adults alike to remind us of the events of the first Passover. Here is a great starter to creating your very own Haggadah for your next Passover Meal. Read More
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