In 2018, Passover begins at sundown on Monday, April 10. See Passover dates, a short history—plus, we share a couple of Passover recipes!
What is Passover?
The holiday of Pesach, or Passover, is 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.
Passover is a springtime festival. The annual dates are based on the Hebrew calendar, from the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Nissan though the 22nd day.
Passover begins in the evening at sundown prior to the first full day of the festival.
|Year||Passover Begins (at sundown)|
|2017||Monday, April 10|
|2018||Friday, March 30|
|2019||Friday, April 19|
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.
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.
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 left Egypt because they did not even have time for the bread to rise.
If you’re cooking for Passover, or just wish to try something new, a classic dinner dish is beef brisket.
We also love this matzo soup made with tomatoes.
Note: For the duration of the 8 (or 7 days in Israel) of Passover, chametz (leaven) is avoided.
If you do celebrate Passover, please share your traditions below!