Passover 2020: When Does Passover Begin?

Learn About the History of Passover and its Traditions

April 8, 2020

Passover 2020 begins at sundown on Wednesday, April 8. See more information on Passover dates, meaning, and traditional recipes, including charoset and beef brisket.

What Is Passover?

The holiday of Pesach, or Passoveris an annual weeklong festival commemorating the emancipation of Jewish peoples from slavery (in ancient Egypt). The Hebrew name, Pesach, means “to passover” because the plague in Egypt that killed all firstborns passed over the Israelites’ homes, sparing the lives of their children.

When Is Passover?

Passover is a springtime festival. The annual dates are based on the Hebrew calendar, from the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Nissan (or Nisan) through the 22nd day.

Note: What is often called Passover today has its origins in two ancient observances. Nissan 14 was the Passover (Pesach) as mentioned in the Torah; at this time, an offering to the Lord, the sacrifice of a lamb, was slaughtered during the afternoon and prepared. Nissan 15 (the new day starting at sundown) was the beginning of the seven-day Festival of Unleavened Bread. On this start of Nissan 15, the Passover lamb that had been sacrificed and prepared on Nissan 14 (that same afternoon) was eaten that night (now Nissan 15), along with unleavened bread. Over time, the Festival of Unleavened Bread commonly became known as “Passover” and is usually considered as starting at sundown between Nissan 14 and Nissan 15.

Passover Dates

Year Passover Begins (at sundown)

Passover Ends (at nightfall,
when 3 medium stars become visible)

2020 Wednesday, April 8 Thursday, April 16
2021 Saturday, March 27 Sunday, April 4

Passover begins in the evening at sundown prior to the first full day of the festival.

Celebrating Passover

In many Reform Jewish communities, Passover is celebrated for seven days, not eight. In more traditional Jewish communities—including both Orthodox and Conservative communities—Passover is celebrated for eight days.

Passover (Pesach) marks the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt.

Family and friends gather together after nightfall 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. The Seder meals include four cups of wine, eating matzah and bitter herbs, and retelling the story of the Exodus.

Meaning of Passover

(Note: To some followers of Judaism, it is considered disrespectful to write out the name of the Lord in full. Because Passover is primarily a Jewish holiday, we have elected to follow this custom on this page by using “G-d” to refer to Him. Thank you for your understanding.)

In Hebrew, this festival is known as Pesach (which means “to pass over”), because G‑d passed over the Jewish homes to spare them from death that first Passover eve.

The Israelites had been slaves to Egyptian pharaohs for many decades. Moses tried to appeal to the Egyptians with a message from G-d, but this were ignored. Devastating plagues destroyed crops and livestock.

On the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Nissan in the year 2448 from creation (1313 BCE), G‑d the last of the ten plagues afflicted the Egyptians, killing all their firstborn. However, G‑d spared the children of Israel, “passing over” their homes. The Pharaoh relented. Six hundred thousand adult males, plus many more women and children, left Egypt on that day and began the trek to Mount Sinai.

Passover Recipes

Perhaps the most well-known of Passover foods is the matzah (flat, crackerlike unleavened bread), which is a reminder of the haste with which the slaves left Egypt because they did not even have time for the bread to rise.

In fact, leavened bread is not eaten, nor is any leavened or fermented food or drink (such as cake, cookies, cereal, pasta, and most alcoholic beverages).

Passover Charoset (or Haroset)

Traditionally, the matzah is served with a sweet condiment called charoset, a mixture of apples, nuts, and wine. This symbolic dish represents the bricks used by the Jewish slaves to build Pharaoh’s cities. The basic recipe (though it varies) is:

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 3 apples, unpeeled, cored and cut into about 8 pieces
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar or to taste
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons grape juice or sweet Passover wine

Put the walnuts in the chopping bowl if doing by hand or a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Roughly chop into large dice or pulse just a few times in the processor, being careful not over-process. Add the apple pieces and chop or pulse to desired consistency. Add rest of ingredients and stir well to blend. Makes about 2 cups.

The above recipe is the most basic version. Below is another charoset recipe, which uses honey, raisins, and dried apricots.

Credit: Chatelaine

A traditional Passover meal also includes gefilte fish and matzo ball soup for starters. A classic dinner dish is a beef brisket.


Note: For the duration of the 8 (or 7 days in Israel) of Passover, chametz (leaven) is avoided.

If you do observe Passover, we hope you have a safe and enjoyable celebration!


The Old Farmer's Almanac



Reader Comments

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Passover ending

While the holiday starts with candle lighting which is done 18 minutes before sunset, it does not end at sunset. It ends at the time when the stars appear in the sky, which has been determined to be between 59 to 73 minutes after sunset.

Passover ends

The Editors's picture

Thank you for your feedback! We have revised the heading for the table on dates when Passover begins and ends.


Please pray for me and my best friends sam and Juanita

True Passover

According to The Bible and the Georgian Calandar representing Jesus Christ, "in the year of our Lord" 2020. Passover starts January 10th, every year forever. EXODUS12 And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 2 This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.11 And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the Lord’s passover. 12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. 13 And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. 14 And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever. 15 Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel. 16


Chametz (leaven) is not simply "avoided" it is absolutely strictly forbidden according to Jewish law to the degree that totally different dishes, pots, pans, silverware, etc. must be used from that which is used during the rest of the year since anything that even contacted chametz is considered unkosher for Passover use.

Erroneous calendar and Passover date.

Your calendar is erroneous. Nowhere in the word of our Father are we given commands or instructions to observe a lunar calendar. Israel adopted the lunar Sabbath calendar of Babylon during the exile.
One man was given the wisdom and authority to reveal the calendar of our Father, his name is Enoch, the seventh from Adam. See Jubilees 4:16-18. The only scriptural instructions to formulate a calendar system are found in chapters 72-82 of the book of Enoch and confirmed in the book of Jubilees as a second witness.
By the way, Passover is on the 14th day of the first month, per the instructions of Exodus 12 and Leviticus 23. NOT the 15th, which is the first day of Unleavened Bread.
Your Passover falling on a Friday proves you wrong as you will be unable to roast the lamb by fire as commanded, since kindling fire and cooking on the Sabbath is forbidden.

date of Passover

The Editors's picture

Thank you for your feedback. We have revised the text to help clarify.

Permission to write God

The Most High’s name is not God in the Tetragrammaton it is YHWH. The khazarian ashkenazis that live in Israel and call themselves Jew-ish are Not the Israelites of the Bible. They descended from Japheth not Shem. The sons of Japheth is stated in the book of (Genesis)!
Most of the tribe of Judah/ Yahawadah went in to slavery on ships and were sold to their enemies (Deuteronomy). The fake Jews can lie, cry, get angry, hope and pray, but there is no way they can be a descendant of Shem, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob or any of his 12 sons that are the beginning of the tribes, because they don’t descend from Shem. They descended from his brother Japheth. Period!


The Editors's picture

To some followers of Judaism, it is considered disrespectful to write out the name of the Lord in full. Because Passover is primarily a Jewish holiday, we have elected to follow this custom on this page by using “G-d” to refer to Him. Thank you for your understanding.


My supposed Christian x-mother in law would use g-d as an expletive, which I found both ironic & offensive on numerous levels. If you want to say GOD, unless you are being offensive, just do it, everyone knows what you mean.

G-d explanation

Writing G-d is actually a sign of respect. The Torah prohibits Jews from erasing, destroying or desecrating the name of G‑d. By writing, typing, etc. "G-d", should something happen to the document, the name of G-d will not be damaged. In no way is it meant to be politically correct, disrespectful, or shameful.

I find it offensive that you wont type God.

You capitalize it, yet edit it?
Get right with the Lord...
You don't have to explain your apparent shame to me- but you will have to explain it to Jesus.
Defend the word of God- and CELEBRATE IT!

And who should care?

For real, take a second to learn about other people's beliefs.
Also, nobody really cares about what offends you.


I find it absurd that you use “G-d” instead of “God”. As if you’re afraid that the PC (politics controlled) police will get you. Do not compromise your integrity for the sake of appeasement.


G-D, what the heck ?? I agree with your comment to the writer. Are you ashamed to spell GOD?

The Passover by the word in Genesis, moon, and almanac.

In the book of Genesis the word of Elohim says let this too be a sign, signs in the heaven(moon) new moon, study further,and even the almanac etc.ask and it shall be given,seek and we shall find, knock and it shall be open, our answer is there, HE has spoken, be bless, stay blessed.Let's stay United in LOVE, for HE is LOVE, we are to be one in HIM, Sabbath Shalom,Happy Pesach.

some Christians celabrate the Passover too

as a Primitive Christian I have kept the Passover. Jesus kept the Passover and his last supper was a Passover where He gave His followers new symbols for the Passover. Basically I have kept it with the church; unleavened bread and wine one night, and a meal the second night. I make my own unleavened bread all week long. It's great to see a website that allows people to share their faith.

Last Supper

The last supper can not possibly be a passover... it does not fit... how can he (Jesus) be a passover lamb and yet eat of the lamb when he had to die with the rest of the lambs?

Passover Lamb

Please read Dr. Scott Haun’s “The Fourth Cup.” I think it will help shed light on The Lamb of God....
Happy Easter!!

Jesus and passover

The last supper was the day before Passover. Jesus is the sacrificial lamb. The Bible states that even tho it was a holy day (Passover) when nothing but test was to be done on that day, Jesus was still crucified. The romans did not practice what the Jews did


well???? in John it says now BEFORE the Passover Jesus sat down with his diciples it was clearly not the passover


I am not Jewish. But I am always very interested in traditions of other religions and spiritual practices. Especially, the Three Biggies: Judaism, Christianity (that's me), and Islam. I always read the recipes, and have learned to appreciate some of the dietary taboos of Judaism, that were always in the background of Sunday School teachings. This is a great article for the Old Farmer's Almanac to present.


I must admit I am very shocked to read all the anti-semitic/anti-jewish comments in this list.

The article, above, ends with "If you do celebrate Passover, please share your traditions below!" That's what I was expecting when I started reading the comments. (I didn't count, but) at least 90% of the comments were religious, beliefs, etc. in nature. Not one of the comments (and I read into 2014's comments) talked about foods or traditions of Passover.

Well ... I will!

My grandmother used to make Passover Popovers. Every year, we'd have those popovers during the week. Then my mom began making them. When I moved out to Boston, from the LA area, I began making them. They are such a big hit. It's very easy to make them:
1 cup water
1 cup Matzo Meal
1/4 cup oil
4 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
Bring water, salt and oil to a boil. Remove from heat. Add Matzo Meal, all at once and stir til well incorporated and becomes a "ball". Add eggs, one at a time, stirring thoroughly after each egg. Stir to blend eggs and to make sure lots of air is stirred into the batter.

Fill well oiled muffin cups 1/2 to 3/4 full. Bake for 20 minutes at 450F. Turn down heat to 350 for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and enjoy (wait a couple minutes until cooling down.


Hate Mail Notwithstanding!

I am sorry you have been exposed, as a group, to some very unpleasant commentary from unevolved people. I enjoyed your recipe and comment. Maybe I will get the courage to try your Grandmother's Pasech. Its the "stirring in the air" bit that has me shaking in my boots! Thank you for posting it! May you and your family have a truly blessed Passover, this year. It seems so very stressful for many of us.

Thank you

I am a vegan but appreciate your sharing. For me the Passover is about Faith and true freedom.


Janice, we use the skimmed fat from the chicken soup instead of oil in our matzo ball recipe. I’m told that recipe is over 95 years old as that is how old my aunt is and it is a family recipe she has from her mother. We also have a minhag of keeping a piece of the afikommen from one year to the next. We’re Ashkenazi but it’s supposedly a Turkish custom the family adopted from way back, further than anyone can remember. Chag Semeach!

Thank you

Thank you! I am always interested in other cultures & celebrations of our lives. Thank you so much for sharing! Many blessings to you & your family during this Holiday.

Passover April 3rd. 2017 at sunset

Why does all the calendars say Passover is on the 10th? If the spring equinox was March 20th which started at the19th, at sunset to 20th, at sunset, and count 15 days you get April 3rd, not April 10th. Wow Happy Passover..

Passover date

The Editors's picture

As I understand it, Passover is usually calculated as beginning on the 14th day of Nisan at dusk (or Nisan 15 for first full day). This usually corresponds to the time of a full Moon, the month of Nisan starting at the first appearance of a new crescent Moon. Passover was intended to be a spring festival, so an extra month is sometimes added to the calendar year to keep it on track. Putting this all together: For 2017, the vernal equinox was on March 20 (6:29 am EDT), Gregorian calendar date. The next new Moon was on March 27. Nisan 1 was on March 28 (one can not see the crescent the day of the new Moon; the start of each month is now usually based on calculation of the likely time rather than on actual sight). Nisan 14, Passover, starts on April 10 at dusk. The next full Moon after the equinox will be on April 11. Hope this helps!

Passover dates

The church has forgotten where it came from that is why pastors and their flocks have to ask questions about things like passover.... Nowhere that I know of in the bible is Spring Equinox mentioned. God wants man to trust in Him and His creation, he gave us times and seasons to observe - yes use our eyes and other senses. The Sanhedrin is discussing moving back to the 'Aviv' calendar, which relies on the sighting of the new moon and the ripening of the barley for a new year and hence the first month to start. We then find on 14th Aviv (currently known as Nisan) the passover lamb is sacrificed (as was Yeshua) and as the sun sets the passover lamb is eaten and now the 15th of Aviv begins which is the 'feast of unleavened bread'. So the lamb is eaten with unleavened bread and a 'high' sabbath begins. So now you see why the last supper can not be a 'passover' meal as the lamb was not yet slaughtered... Jesus can not partake of the passover in which He is the sacrifice.

Jesus buried Wed evening having died when the lambs where also slaughtered
thursday day no work is done as it is still 'high' sabbath
Jesus has been in tomb 1 night and 1 day
thursday night and friday day (Jesus been in tomb 2 night and 2 day)
Friday night and saturday day (the weekly sabbath and Jesus been in tomb 3 night and 3 day)..... fulfilling the sign of Jonah

Saturday after sunset (the first day of the week begins) Jesus arises as the 'First Fruits' and not an Easter Bunny or Egg in sight!!

Following the destruction of the temple around 70AD and the suppression by Military Roman Empire, the Church of Rome (Holy Roman Empire) did all it could to crush the Jews and everything that the first believers followed and knew.... manuscripts burnt, YHVH name forbidden, change of Sabbath to Sunday, changing and adopting different times (as bible says antichrist will do)... basically Rome destroyed everything Hebrew and created a new religion.