Passover is one of the most important religious festivals in the Jewish calendar.

Jews celebrate the Feast of Passover (Pesach in Hebrew) to commemorate the liberation of the Children of Israel who were led out of Egypt by Moses.

Jews have celebrated Passover, which can be called the Festival of Spring, since about 1300 BC, following the rules laid down by God in Exodus 13.

The story of Passover is told in the Book of Exodus.

The Children of Israel had been slaves in Egypt for 210 years. God promised he would release them from slavery, but not before Pharaoh had refused their release and God had visited ten plagues on Egypt to demonstrate his power. (Exodus 3: 19-20)

The first nine plagues were, The Plague of Blood: The Plague of Frogs: The Plague of Lice: The Plague of Flies: The Plague on Livestock: The Plague of Boils: The Plague of Hail: The Plague of Locusts: The Plague of Darkness: The Tenth Plague – the plague on the firstborn.

An avenging angel would go from house to house killing every first-born son. Israelite children would not be killed and thus God would show that they were his chosen people.

Home-made matzo. Matzo symbolizes the Israelites’ unleavened bread ©So that the angel would know which houses were Israelite homes, the Children of Israel were to follow very specific instructions:

Each household was to take an unblemished, male lamb, look after it, and slaughter it at twilight four days later. Blood from the lamb was to be brushed on the door frames. This would tell the avenging angel that it was an Israelite home and to ‘pass over.’

Then the families were to roast the lamb and eat it with bitter herbs and unleavened bread. Every bit of the lamb had to be eaten and any remaining bones burned. The Israelites were to perform this ritual dressed for a journey

The highlight of Passover observance takes place on the first two nights, when friends and family gather together for ritual seder meals.

Seder means ‘order’ and the ceremonies are arranged in a specific order. Special plates and cutlery are used which are kept exclusively for Passover.

Learning Zone video.

Image Sources

  • Happy Passover: Shutterstock