Passover is an important festival in the Jewish calendar, with celebrations set to begin from Friday April 15th. The celebrations will last for several days in Jewish communities around the world.
So how is Passover celebrated among Jewish communities and what are the origins of the festival? Here’s what you need to know.
What is Passover?
The Feast of Passover, which is known as Pesach in Hebrew, commemorates the liberation of the Children of Israel, who were led out of Egypt by Moses. Jews have celebrated Passover since around 1300 BC according to the Book of Exodus.
The Children of Israel had been slaves in Egypt for 210 years, and God promised that he would release them from slavery. However, this was not before Pharaoh had refused their release and God had visited ten plagues on Egypt to demonstrate his power - (Exodus 3: 19-20).
Sometimes called The Festival of Freedom, Passover is a celebration of freedom. It’s also a pilgrim festival, and is one of the three occasions in the year when Jews were to go to the Temple in Jerusalem, according to the commandments of the Torah.
Passover can also be called the Festival of Spring, and was an agricultural festival marking the beginning of the cycle of production and harvest during the time the Jews lived in ancient Palestine. It symbolises hope and new life, alongside the importance of starting afresh.
How to celebrate Passover
Every year, the Feast of Passover is celebrated in order to commemorate the liberation of the Children of Israel. The celebrations last for seven or eight days, depending on where you live.
In Israel, Passover lasts for seven days, with the first and seventh days observed as full days of rest, known as yom tov. The middle five days are intermediate holidays, known as hol ha-moed.
Outside of Israel, Passover lasts for eight days. The first two and last two days are observed as full days of rest. Although the Torah says to celebrate Passover for seven days, in the past Jews in the Diaspora lived too far away from Israel to receive word as to when to begin their observances, so an additional day of celebration was added in order to be on the safe side.
Passover dates 2022
Passover 2022 will begin on the evening of Friday April 15th, and ends on the evening of Saturday April 23rd.
Passover's dates are determined according to the Hebrew calendar, which is based on the lunar cycle. It starts in the middle of the month of Nisan, when the moon is full, typically falling in March or April of the modern calendar. As a result, Passover often falls very close to Easter.
In English, you can simply wish someone ‘Happy Passover’. You can also greet someone on Passover in Hebrew with ‘Chag Sameach’ or ‘Chag Pesach Sameach’, which means ‘Happy Passover Holidays’. Both can be used to wish someone you know a Happy Passover.