What you need to know to celebrate Pesach.
Passover 2014 begins Monday evening, April 14, and ends Tuesday evening, April 22.
What is Passover?
Passover is a festival of freedom. It commemorates the Israelites's Exodus from Egypt, and their transistion from slavery to freedom. The main ritual of Passover is the seder, which occurs on the first night (or, outside of Israel, the first two nights) of the holiday--a festive meal that involves the re-telling of the Exodus through stories and song and the consumption of ritual foods, including matzah and maror.
What are some Passover practices?
The most salient Passover practice is a set of intense changes to the usual dietary cycle, including the absence of hametz, or foods with leaven. The ecstatic cycle of psalms called Hallel is recited both at night and day (during the Seder and morning prayers). Additionally, Passover commences a 49-day period called the Omer, which recalls the count between offerings brought to the Temple in Jerusalem. This count culminates in the holiday of Shavuot, the anniversary of the reception of the Torah.
What foods do we eat on Passover?
Matzah, or unleavened bread, is the main food of Passover. You can purchase it in numerous stores, or you can make your own. But that's not the only dietary addition! There are many traditional, popularfoods, from haroset (a mixture of apples, nuts, wine, and cinnamon) to matzo ball soup--and the absence of leavening calls upon a cook to employ all of his/her culinary creativity.
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