First full day of Passover
(Passover begins at sundown the day before.) Pesach or Passover is an annual weeklong festival commemorating the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt and slavery. The holiday, which begins on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan, derives its name from the passing over of the homes of the Israelite slaves during the tenth plague. Family and friends gather together on the first and second nights of the holiday for the high point of the festival observance, the Seder. During the Seder, which means "order" in Hebrew, the experience of the Exodus is told in story, song, prayer, and the tasting of symbolic foods. Perhaps the most well-known of these foods is the matzoh (flat, crackerlike unleavened bread), which is a reminder of the haste with which the slaves -- who had no time to wait for the bread to rise -- left Egypt.