Passover, also known as Pesach, is a major Jewish festival that begins on the 15th day of Nisan, which is the first month in the ecclesiastical year of the Hebrew calendar. The festival lasts for seven or eight days and usually falls in April of the Gregorian calendar.
Passover 2014 begins on 14 April and concludes on April 22.
During Passover, the Jewish people commemorate the liberation from slavery and the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. These events are said to have taken place some 3000 years ago.
The Haggadah, which is read and sung throughout the festival, tells the dramatic tale of the Hebrew enslavement by pharaoh and how Moses asked the Egyptian ruler to let his people go. The story also tells of how the Ten Plagues inundated Egypt when Pharoah initially refused and, talks about the final last-minute escape of the Israelites through the miraculously parted Red Sea.
So fast was the dramatic redemption from hundreds of years of collective bondage and slavery that the Hebrews had no time to allow bread to rise. So they baked unleavened bread for their journey. Thus, to the disappointment of many Jews, the week-long festival is observed in part, by eating unleavened bread, aka Matzo.
Interesting Facts and Symbols
- Many aspects of Passover are supposed to have a symbolic meaning. The cleaning process to remove Chametz represents the removal of egotism and evil deeds, the Matzo represents the haste in which the Israelites left Egypt, while the red wine or grape juice represents blood of sacrifice
- Among other symbols, is the the special kitchen utensils that families use only during the Passover festival time.
- The Seder Plate, used in the special Passover meals, consists of three kitchen utensils piled on top of each other on a plate or clean cloth which are again covered with another plate or cloth. Different symbolic foods are placed on top, such as Zeroa (a roasted shank bone or chicken neck) and Beitzah (a hardboiled egg) among others.
- Each of the foods on the plate is supposed to represent a different aspect of the Passover story and is eaten in a particular order and combinations during the ceremonial meals.
- Passover usually occurs during the Christian observances of Good Friday and Easter Sunday and the Islamic Day of Ashura.
Here are top 10 Quotes and Sayings to Mark the Day:
1. Remember this day, on which you went fee from Egypt, the house of bondage, how Adonai freed you from it with a mighty hand - Exodus 13:3
2. Observe the month of Aviv, and keep the Passover to Adonai your God; for in the month of Aviv Adonai your God brought you out of Egypt by night. - Deuteronomy 16:1
3. Passover has a message for the conscience and the heart of all mankind. For what does it commemorate? It commemorates the deliverance of a people from degrading slavery, from most foul and cruel tyranny. And so, it is Israel's, nay, God's protest against unrighteousness, whether individual or national. - Morris Joseph
4. A lot of people think Passover just means you can't eat bread. But it's so much more than that, and that's what I find the hardest. I love ice cream, but it has corn syrup in it, so I can't eat it." --Marsha Cohen
5. The willingness to sacrifice is the prelude to freedom. - Unknown
6. Passover is one of my favourite times of the year. This is when the whole community and family gets together to remember who we are and why we are there. - Jennifer Wagner
7. Passover is our tradition, and I like to keep up with that. Our ancestors couldn't eat bread, and that's nice for us to celebrate that every year by going through their struggles. - Marsha Cohen
8. Passover affirms the great truth that liberty is the inalienable right of every human being. - Morris Joseph
9. God said to Moses, "I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I Am' has sent me to you." - Exodus 3: 14
10. Passover and Easter are the only Jewish and Christian holidays that move in sync, like the ice skating pairs we say during the Winter Olympics. - Marvin Olasky