Celebrating Passover

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!

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