Passover 2021: When Does Passover Begin?

Learn About the History of Passover and Its Traditions

February 18, 2021

Passover begins at sundown on Saturday, March 27. What does this annual holiday celebrate? Learn about Passover’s meaning and find traditional recipes, including charoset and beef brisket.

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 first-borns passed over the Israelites’ homes, sparing the lives of their children.

When Is Passover?

The 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 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 2021 will be celebrated from March 27 to April 4. The first Seder will be on March 27 after nightfall, and the second Seder will be on March 28 after nightfall.

Passover Dates

Year Passover Begins (at sundown) Passover Ends (at nightfall, when 3 medium stars become visible)
2021 Saturday, March 27 Sunday, April 4
2022 Friday, April 15 Friday, April 22
2022 Wednesday, April 5 Wednesday, April 12

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.

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 maror (bitter herbs) and matzah (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.

For the duration of Passover, no leavened or fermented food or drink is eaten, including 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!



Reader Comments

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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.

Message by Robert Moore

I hear You Robert Moore. IF You can, tell me this. HOW can any CROP be ready for harvest in less than a Month after Spring begins? Are any crops planted at ANY time during Winter? IF You do not understand or know WHY I am asking this question, I WILL be more specific.

Christ the passover lamb.

Christ celebrated the passover with his apostles the night before he was crucified.. to show them the new symbols of the new covenant. body and blood. to symbolize that he is/was passover lamb. the biblical day starts at sunset to sunset, nt the roman mightnite to midnight nonsense.. he was crucified on the passover, tduring daylight hours, around 3 pm.. the high day was thursday, ie preparation day.. rose on sat sabbath. wed to sat 72 hrs,per jonah. rose on true sabbath. roman church because of hatred of jews changed day to start at midnight, and used the pagan day of easter.. passover nt just for jews, whole world fooled.. israel nt all jewish. 12 tribes, split after soloman death, taxes, jeroboan , northern 10 tribes, judah and benjamin comprised judah. 2 separate kingdoms.. israel in middle east is mostly just judah. usa and gb represent lost 10 tribes of ancient israel.. thanks for what u wrote. george cunningham


Very much enjoyed reading all the diversity of thoughts represented here. I am surprised the need to be so correct about the day, when most churches don't keep the Saturday Sabbath as Hebrews do. But the spiritual need to remember and celebrate these time honored traditions is a great thing!

When the day starts.

It has been brought to my attention that the day starts at sundown on the night before.

So Passover actually started on April 9th at sundown.

Just like the sabbath starts on Friday at sundown.

Why are we using anything lunar to count?

Throughout the bible, God uses months when referring to Satan. When speaking about His children, days are used. Why would we count the days in regard to Passover in moons? It is supposed to be 15 days following the Spring Equinox.

Why are we using anything lunar to count?

Jews don't believe in Satan or Hell. The early Jews did all planting and harvesting by the lunar calendar. All holidays and major events were by the lunar calendar. There are 13 months in the Jewish calendar and that is why Easter and Passover don't fall on the same day.


My grandfather would hide pieces of matzo for us kids to hunt for money rewards...

how we celebrate feast of passover

My church in Nigeria here, we are generally called sabbath-observers that wear white garment. There are diverse denominations, in my own denominations that day of the passover night we all leave our different states and countries and gather at the headquarter, where there is the killing of the passover ram, grilled with none of its bones broken, there is breaking of bread and taking of sanctuary wine. We celebrate it commemorating the salvation from slavery of sin which started from Egypt and was fulfilled by the death of Christ. We eat the meat believing we are eating the flesh of Christ the passover lamb and the wine connotes the shed blood of Christ; just as during the last supper. There is also washing of feet to signify Christ washing his disciples feet, to indicate our continuous solemn re-initiation to be part of that rock CHRIST and belong to only Him. We continuously reside at the headquarters worshipping from morning to dawn for the whole passover night and 7 days feast of unleavened bread celebration. During the 8 days we don't eat anything that has yeast in it, holiness is practiced (no sexual intercourse, women in their menses are not allowed to attend, women who newly gave birth and have not finished their days of purification are not allowed to attend). There is also learning of the word and extensive prayer sessions reminding GOD of the promises of deut 6:4-9, dev 11:13- 23 and that HE should pour His blessings and protection on us as we have chosen to honor HIM. Amidst the worship we celebrate the fact that a time will come when we will join the host of heaven worshipping YHWH in heaven and not on Earth anymore.

Nigerian Church

Wow! This is beautiful. Thank you!


hello my dear jacob descendants why you are add 28 days this year,why the passover later one month as normal years ? our abraham, issac,jacob's god tell any where in the bible you additionally add one day are month in your calendar ?

Jewish calander

One has to understand the Jewish calendar, the month starts at new moon, this year 2016 is Sat April 9 or sunset on April 8, this is Nisan 1, the Passover is on Nisan 14, this year is on Friday April 22, the Jews no longer keep the Passover of Nisan 14, but keep the 7 day feast of Uneven Bread, that is on Nisan 15.
The Jewish day starts at sunset, Nisan 14 starts on April 21 2016 at sunset. That evening is when the Passover was taken by Jesus, in Jesus time this evening of Nisan 14 was on wed evening, Jesus died on Nisan 14 Wed afternoon during the day at 3pm, was in the grave before sunset, at the same time that the Jews were keeping there Passover on Nisan 15, a high day, a Holy day, the first day of Uneven Bread
Jesus was in the grave Wed evening to Thursday evening (1 day), Thursday evening to Friday evening (2 day), Friday evening to Saturday evening (3 day), Jesus rose at Sunset the ending of Saturday and beginning of Sunday the first day of the week.

Passover meal date

The Synoptics make it clear that Jesus celebrated a Passover meal the date of the Last Supper in Synoptic gospel is Passover eve and in John is Night before Passover eve.....

Passover date discrepancy

Why such a discrepancy in the date of the Passover keeping? Some scholars do it in March others in April.

Passover 2016

The reason it is April this year and not March is because the barley is not Aviv (rype) in Jerusalem. If the barley is not Aviv then the new moon this month indicated the beginning of the 13th month of the current year and not the 1st month of the new one. The 12th month is called Adar and when there is a 13th month it is called Adar Bet. This is basically how the biblical calendar address the leap year and occurs 7 times in every 19 year cycle. Some of the barley was Aviv but not enough for harvest. This determination is subjective and the amount that has to be Aviv is much debated. The calendar most Jews and Torah observant Christians use was created thousands of years ago when the Jews were no longer in Jerusalem to site the new moon. It was pretty accurate for a while, but as time has passed has become less so. Although it is correct this year. There is also debate as to when the new moon is; is it upon the sighting of the 1st sliver of the moon in Jerusalem or is it the astrological new moon when there is no moon in the sky the day before the 1st sliver can be seen? Do your best to observe the Feasts of Elohim as instructed in scripture. He knows your heart. If we are doing it wrong, He will straighten all of us out upon HIS return. However, the bible is clear, Passover is on the 14th day of the first month during the Aviv. if there is no Aviv, it is not the 1st month, but the 13th. Blessed be HE!


Barley has to be ripe for "Temple offernings" second day of Passover, However, it is a leap year, This is in part why there is so much confusion. the other reason, is ppl think Jews cant do their own calendar. The Jewish months are set by the New moon, G-ds first command to Israel was to sanctify that new moon as Nissan and call it head of the yr. Ppl are trying to make calendars on a solar equinox calendar, THIS means you are following gods of Egypt, NOT Israel. These other calendars also make you deny the Messiah and ALL feasts declared by G-d. Not too bright.

Passover 2016

Passover 2016 is March 20, 2016, not at the end of April. This is not and cannot be the right month.

In 2016, Passover is indeed

The Editors's picture

In 2016, Passover is indeed in April.  The secular dates are: April 22 to 30, 2016. The holiday of Pesach, or Passover, falls on the Hebrew calendar dates of Nissan 15 to 22. The observance begins at sundown on the secular date listed.

passover discussion

straining at gnats people. it's about faith. don't get so caught up in worshipping your own opinions that you forget to worship god.


When you say the 13th what did you mean..I'm new to this.

March 20th was NOT Passover

ITs a LEAP YR !!! APril 22...Barley MUST be ready for Passover or you cant have it !!


Passover 2016 Church of God 7th day

Its May 3, 2015 and the 15th

Its May 3, 2015 and the 15th day of the FIRST Moon, Because The Sun Determines The Seasons!

Thus at the 12th Moon this Cycle, Early Celebrants will Observe a 13th Moon, while those of us who Waited for the Season to Enter Before Observing The New Year Moon will celebrate a 12 Moon year this Cycle. Hope this provided someone confidence in the Scriptures!

The Old Farmers Almanac is

The Old Farmers Almanac is correct with its timing to observe Passover this year. The Jews this year are a day out for reasons unknown. What is known is that the Bible instructs the evening at the close of the 14th Abib (Nisan - Babylonian. The Passover occurred during the 12 hours of night from 14th at evening twilight till the 15th Abib at dawn or sunrise. I do not believe God splits hairs over this twilight. The sacrificed lamb was to be ingested overnight before dawn, and anything left over burnt. The NT bread and fruit of the vine only takes a minute or two at twilight even.
When the Sun overtakes the moon each month the new moon occurs at any part of the 24 hour day, being an average of 12 hours. The moons lunar cycle takes about 29 and 1/2 days approximately. Following this, the first evening thereafter the sun precedes the moon over the horizon at dark leaving a sliver of the moon in its trail able to be seen against the darkness of the sky near the western horizon. Because the day cannot start at any old time, god instructed the first day of the month or year at Abib or Nisan starts at evening after the new moon.
Adding the average of 29 and 1/2 days and the average of of 12 hours mentioned before brings the length of a biblical month to 30 days. There are 360 days in a 12 month Hebrew year, and 390 days in a 13 month Hebrew year containing Adar II.
The New Moon occurs within minutes all over the earth at the same time. The different times all over earth only reflect the different time zones round the earth. The eclipse of the sun happened in England at 9:36am. This was 11:36 am in Jerusalem and 7:36pm in Queensland Australia. If Australia being night time already held off to the following evening, it would be a day out, different day and different Hebrew date. So in Australia this year it is backed up to the first evening after new moon Jerusalem time. This is not always so, as Jerusalem is eight hours behind Eastern Australia. If the whole world were to keep a feast at Jerusalem, this can be seen to be important.
The new moon happened at 11:36am Jerusalem time on the 20th of March. That evening immediately following commenced the 1st Abib, the first Hebrew day of the year.. It ended at the evening of the 21st March, 2015. That was day one, evening to evening. Following this through brings us to the end of the 14th day at evening of Abib which coincides exactly with the commencement of the 15th day of Abib or Nisan, commencing the 1st Day of Unleavened Bread, the FULL MOON FEAST, the night we were thrust out of Egypt, despite being told not to leave our houses till morning - however the Passover Angel had fulfilled his mission by then. This 14th day at evening commencing the 15th day is Friday the 3rd April, 2015.
The Jews should be keeping it an evening earlier. WELL DONE 'OLD FARMERS ALMANAC'. This rite is an ordinance forever, called THE SACRIFICE OF THE LORD'S PASSOVER.
Exodus 12:24 and 27. We must pass it down to our children generation after generation. Peter Holt.

I said below that regarding

I said below that regarding the Passover, this year the Jews are a day out for reasons unknown. I said this in the second sentence.
Later, in the last paragraph, I said the Jews should be keeping it a night earlier.
The reason is now known, the Jews are keeping it the right night, the evening of Friday April 3rd.
The calendar on my wall has it wrong, saying Saturday April 4th is the Jewish Passover.
Last year, 2014, a different calendar was a whole month out early.
Watch your calendars. Don't be misled. I am pleased the Jews have got it right. A person can be wrong for the wrong reason. Thank you. Peter Holt.

Hi Rachel, Yes, Jewish

The Editors's picture

Hi Rachel, Yes, Jewish observances begin at sundown the date prior to the first full day of the festival. For example: If Saturday, April 4 is the first full day of Passover, the observance begins at sundown on April 3. We wouldn't say a calendar is wrong to put a listing on April 4 as long as it's clear that the observance starts at sunset the day before the date listed. However, starting in 2016, our print calendars will start listing the sundown date, rather than the "First day of" in order to avoid confusion. 

Hello all, I have an answer

Hello all,
I have an answer for, fredmacmurray. The Jews celebrate passover two days in a row. Two lambs were slaughtered. One to make peace with G-d, one for the redemption of sin. Jeshua is the redemption of sin for ALL who choose to follow Him.

Here also is an answer for others who believe a Messianic-Jew is a contradictory term. In the book of Daniel it states that the Messiah would come and be sacrificed FOR Israel BEFORE the destruction of the second temple. (Daniel 9: 24-26) He did.
He came, out of love, to save Israel fist and then the gentiles. G-d loves you and sent His Messiah to save you for eternity.
Do not let your religion or tradition get in the way of following G-d.

The Passover is a celebration of that sacrifice. The bitterness of sin, the lamb who dies to save all who trust in its blood, The Affikomen that is broken(killed), hidden (buried), and then found and unwrapped (resurrected) to become the dessert, the joy of the meal. With the one who finds it being rewarded. All who find and follow the Messiah are rewarded with a personal walk with the Lord G-d forever! Can it get any more obvious that the Lord G-d of the Universe was showing the Israelites the future coming of their Messiah! WOW! Also showing the gentiles the Messiah that came!
G-d is GREAT His love endures forever!

Follow Him who died for you, forget all else!

Blessings, happy, happy Passover!

I am even though a gentile in

I am even though a gentile in flesh, but a spiritual Israel as per new testament claims. I worship the one and only god Yahweh, the Father God. As mentioned in the article, Yes Jesus is the messiah through whom salvation has come to humanity and to reach god the father everyone has to go throgh Jesus alone. I celebrate passover for 2 reasons. 1)Jesus has brought end to the typical passover where sheep was sacrificed year by year, but sacrificed himself once on the day of passover ie Nissan 14. 2) Also as his only request to christians is to remember the date of his death, it is important for every christian who follow Jesus is to observe Passover on NIssan 14. I am as a true follower of Jesus observe passover every year without fail on NIssan 14 evening

All glory to Yahewen the one and only god and Jesus the son of God, the messiah

Great comment and mini

Great comment and mini teaching. Thank you. Many people have forgotten or never knew that Jesus was a Hebrew. As many people live in divisiveness believing that Jesus was killed by the Jews. They need to read the Bible, the Jews did not have the authority to put to death, only the Romans did and... I did not start this to teach only to say thank you for your teaching and I pray you be blessed in all you do.