Pesach (Passover) Date in the current year: April 22, 2016

Pesach (Passover) Pesah, or Passover is one of the most significant Jewish holidays. It commemorates the liberation of the Jewish people from slavery in ancient Egypt and the story of the Exodus. This festival commences on Nisan 15 and lasts for seven days in Israel and for eight days in the diaspora.

Passover is one of the three biblically derived Jewish festivals that required pilgrimage to the Holy Temple (shalosh regalim), the other two being Shavuot and Sukkot. Jews start preparing for Pesach long before the holiday commences as they need to remove all chametz from their homes. Chametz refers to leavened food. It must not be eaten, or even owned, during Passover. Jews eat matzo instead – unleavened bread made with only two ingredients, flour and water.

On the first night of Pesach a ritual meal is eaten. This meal is known as the Passover Seder, it is the principal ritual unique to Pesach. The order of the Seder is set forth by the Hagaddah, a Jewish text that narrates the story of the Jewish liberation from the slavery in Ancient Egypt under the leadership of Moses and the Exodus.

On the Seder table there must be a special plate (ke'ara) containing six symbolic foods: maror and chazeret (two kinds of bitter herbs), charoset (a paste of fruit, nuts and wine or juice), karpas (a vegetable), zeroa (a roasted lamb bone), and beitzah (a hard-boiled egg). It is also required to drink at least four cups of kosher wine and eat matzo during the meal.

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Pesach, Passover, Jewish holidays, religious holidays, the Exodus, Seder, Hagaddah