How to Celebrate Passover: Rules, Rituals, Foods, & More

Thứ bảy - 27/04/2024 01:13
Learn about the history and rituals for this special Jewish holidayPassover (called Pesach in Hebrew) is one of the most important holidays in Judaism. It lasts for 8 consecutive days, commemorates the escape of the Jews from slavery in...
Table of contents

Passover (called Pesach in Hebrew) is one of the most important holidays in Judaism. It lasts for 8 consecutive days, commemorates the escape of the Jews from slavery in Egypt, and is celebrated annually either in March or April, depending on the dates in the Hebrew Calendar. In this article, we'll explain everything you need to know to celebrate Passover properly, including what foods you can (and can't) eat. We'll also take you through the seder ritual, which is an important festive meal during Passover.

What are the Rules for Passover?

During the 8 days of Passover, Jewish people keep kosher by avoiding "chametz" (leavened food), which is any food containing wheat, spelt, barley, oats, and rye. In the days leading up to Passover, they vigorously clean their kitchens and utensils (a process called "kashering") to remove all traces of chametz from the home.

Section 1 of 4:

How to Keep Kosher for Passover

  1. Step 1 Cut all leavened products from your diet.
    Remove all leavened products, known as "chametz" in Hebrew, from your home before Passover begins and avoid eating them for all 8 days of Passover. This includes any wheat, barley, rye, oats, or spelt products, as well as bread, cake, cookies, cereal, pizza, pasta, and alcoholic beverages. This is to honor the unleavened bread that the Israelites ate when they left Egypt.[1]
    • Products like baking powder or baking soda are allowed during Passover.
    • Chametz is considered the "anthesis" (the flowering period of a plant) of matzah and a representation of egotism. Getting rid of chametz is a key part of celebrating Passover and embracing selflessness.
  2. Step 2 Avoid all non-kosher and other forbidden foods.
    As throughout the year, during Passover, you aren't allowed to eat certain non-kosher meats such as pork, shellfish, lobster, shrimp, crab, rabbit, and any seafood without fins or scales, such as swordfish and sturgeon. You also can't eat any products made with these ingredients.[2]
    • It is also tradition to not eat meat in combination with dairy during Passover (as well as all year around) in accordance with regular Jewish dietary laws. So, avoid cheese, butter, or cream sauce on beef or chicken.
  3. Step 3 Eat fresh produce, matzo, and other kosher foods during Passover.
    Raw fruits and vegetables are considered kosher, along with chicken, turkey, most cuts of beef, venison, goat, and fish. Eggs, nuts, and dairy products are also fine to eat. Processed food must have a "Kosher for Passover" label on it to be considered kosher for Passover.[3]
    • Kosher food labels will say things like "Kosher for Passover," "May be used for Passover," and "Kosher for Passover and all year round."
    • Fish and eggs are allowed during Passover as long as they are served with dairy or with meat.
  4. Advertisement
Section 2 of 4:

Preparing for Passover

  1. Step 1 Check the dates for the 8 days of Passover.
    Passover begins at sundown in early spring, known as the month of Nissan in the Hebrew calendar. The start date of Passover will change every year based on when Nissan occurs in the Hebrew calendar. Consult a Hebrew calendar for the exact dates for Passover in your year.[4]
    • Passover 2024 will begin on the evening of Monday, April 22, and will last through sundown on April 30.[5]
  2. Step 2 Take the first 2 days and the last 2 days of Passover off work.
    Passover is divided into 2 parts, and the first 2 days and the last 2 days of Passover are considered holidays, which means no work is done. This includes driving, writing, or using electrical devices (among certain other activities categorized as labor). You're allowed to cook and carry items outdoors if you need to.[6]
    • The middle 4 days during Passover are called Chol Hamoed (literally, "weekday of the holiday") and all forms of work are permitted during these days.
    • It can be tough to avoid work completely during the first and last days of Passover. It can help to do any work you need to get done before Passover begins or save it for the middle 4 days of Passover so you don't break with tradition.
  3. Step 3 Clean your home thoroughly and remove all leavened products.
    It's customary to do a thorough cleaning of every nook and cranny of your home in the weeks leading up to Passover. Dust, mop, sweep, and wipe each surface in your home. Also, scrub all of the dishes and utensils you plan to use, especially the ones you're using for the seder meals.[7]
    • This process is called “kashering” which means to make Kosher through rigorous cleaning.[8]
  4. Advertisement
Section 3 of 4:

Attending the Passover Seder

  1. Step 1 Gather with friends and family for the seder.
    The seder is a festive holiday meal, and it's the most important celebration during Passover. The word "seder" means "order" and refers to the very specific order of things that happen during the meal. There are 2 seders: one on the first night of Passover and one on the second night of Passover.[9]
    • In 2024, the first seder will be on April 22 after nightfall, and the second seder will be on April 23 after nightfall.
  2. Step 2 Put together a traditional seder plate with symbolic foods.
    The seder plate plays a central role in the Passover celebration. It consists of 6 symbolic foods, plus 3 pieces of matzah which will be placed on a separate plate. The 6 symbolic foods are:[10]
    • The bitter herbs: traditionally this is horseradish, but parsley, green onion, or celery can also be used.
    • The paste or charoset: a sweet mixture that represents the mortar used by the slaves to build the pyramids of Egypt. It's usually a ground mixture of apples, nuts, and wine.
    • The vegetable: this is a non-bitter, root vegetable such as a boiled potato. It represents the hard labor of the slaves.
    • The shankbone: this is usually lamb or goat, which symbolizes the sacrificial lamb of Passover.
    • The egg: a hard-boiled egg used to symbolize the offering made in the days of the Temple.
    • The lettuce: this is usually romaine and symbolizes the bitterness of slavery (similar to the bitter herbs).
  3. Step 3 Say the Kiddush blessing over wine in honor of Passover.
    Read the Kiddush blessing from the Haggadah, light the candles, and enjoy a cup of wine with those gathered.[11]
    • You can then pour the second cup of wine but don't drink it yet.
  4. Step 4 Wash your hands without saying a blessing (Urchatz).
    This practice is to prepare everyone for the eating of the Karpas.[12]
  5. Step 5 Eat the Karpas.
    Dip a vegetable, usually parsley, in saltwater and eat it. The vegetable is a symbol of the humble origins of the Jewish people. The salt water is a symbol of the tears shed due to slavery.[13]
  6. Step 6 Break the matzah (unleavened bread).
    Break the middle of the 3 matzah on the table, known as "yachatz." Return the smaller part to the pile. The larger part will be returned to the pile for the afikoman.[14]
  7. Step 7 Say the Maggid.
    This is the retelling of the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt written in the Haggadah. After reading the story, have the youngest child ask the traditional 4 questions, and drink the second cup of wine. The 4 questions are:[15]
    • "What has changed, this night, from all the other nights? That in all other nights we eat both chametz and matzah, on this night, we eat only matzah?"
    • "What has changed, this night, from all the other nights? That in all other nights we eat many vegetables, on this night, maror?"
    • "What has changed, this night, from all the other nights? That in all other nights we do not dip vegetables even once, on this night, we dip twice?"
    • "What has changed, this night, from all the other nights? On all other nights, we eat either sitting or reclining, either sitting or reclining. On this night, on this night, we all recline."
    • The Haggadah contains all the necessary prayers for seder, as well as the procedures and story of Passover.
  8. Step 8 Wash your hands again (Rachtzah).
    This time, include a blessing as you wash your hands. This is to prepare everyone for the eating of the matzah.[16]
  9. Step 9 Say the Motzi.
    Recite the traditional blessing for eating bread, called the ha-motzi, over the matzos.[17]
  10. Step 10 Eat the Matzo.
    Recite the blessing for eating matzah and eat a small portion of the matzah.[18]
  11. Step 11 Eat the Maror.
    Bless and eat the bitter herbs. These can be dipped in the Charoset.[19]
  12. Step 12 Eat the Koreich.
    Make a sandwich of matzah, bitter herbs and charoset. Eat this.
  13. Step 13 Set the table (Shulchan Oreich).
    This is the big dinner. You can eat whatever you want (as long as it does not include leavening) but Jewish staples like gefilte fish, matzah ball soup, and brisket are traditionally most common.
  14. Step 14 Find and eat the afikoman (Tzafun).
    This is when the afikoman, the piece of matzah set aside earlier in the meal, is to be eaten as a dessert. Traditionally, children will steal it earlier in the meal and hide it for the adults to ransom back with candy or other small prizes.
    • Another option is to have the adults hide the afikoman. Then, the children can be paid in candy or toys to find and return it.
  15. Step 15 Welcome Elijah (Barech).
    Say the after-meal blessing and drink the third cup of wine. Then, pour the fourth cup of wine for the prophet Elijah and open the door of the home briefly to allow him entrance.[20]
  16. Step 16 Say the Hallel.
    Recite psalms, bless the fourth cup of wine, and drink it.
  17. Step 17 Conclude the evening (Nirtzah).
    Conclude the seder with wishes for the next year, songs, stories, or expressions of affection and faith.
  18. Advertisement
Section 4 of 4:

Passover Greetings, Songs, & Activities

  1. Step 1 Say "Chag Pesach sameach" to wish someone a happy Passover.
    It's totally fine to wish someone a happy Passover in English, of course. If you want to work some Hebrew into your greeting, you can say "Happy Pasach!" Here are a few other traditional Hebrew and Yiddish greetings you can use:
    • Chag sameach (Happy holiday)
    • Chag kasher v’sameach (Have a kosher and happy Passover)
    • Zissen Pesach (Happy Passover in Yiddish)
    • Gut yontif (Good holiday in Yiddish)
  2. Step 2 Sing Passover songs like "Dayenu."
    You can sing Passover songs, either modern or traditional, on your own or with your family or friends. Many traditional Passover songs can be found on YouTube and in the Haggadah, but here are some ideas to get you started:
    • "Dayenu" is a good traditional song for the whole family. It's upbeat and great for singing as a group.
    • Shalom Sesame (a Jewish subset of Sesame Street) made an excellent Passover film that contains lots of great songs for young kids.
    • For fun takes on modern songs, listen to The Ein Prat Fountainheads "Dayenu, Coming Home" or The Maccabeats "Les Misérables, A Passover Story."
  3. Step 3 Watch Passover movies.
    You can watch movies relating to Passover with your family or children. Not only can this entertain the whole family, but it can serve to remind everyone of the importance of the holiday. It can also open up a discussion the history of the Jewish people and the purpose of Passover.
    • A good option is The Prince of Egypt, which is appropriate and fun for children but also has music and acting that adults will enjoy.
    • Another good option is The Ten Commandments starring Charlton Heston. It's a classic that appeals to both the young and old.
    • If your family prefers a little more drama, try The Devil's Arithmetic. In this film, a young Jewish girl (played by Kirsten Dunst) is tired of celebrating Passover and is magically transported back in time to a Nazi concentration camp. She learns the true meaning of struggle, the importance of remembering, and the value of family and heritage.
  4. Step 4 Make Passover crafts with your kids.
    There are so many cute crafts you can make with children to get them involved with and excited about the holiday. Crafting also gives you an opportunity to explain the importance of Passover to your kids.
    • Make a matzo house. This can be done similarly to making a gingerbread house and makes a great centerpiece. Make it extra exciting for the kids by building the matzo house with chocolate and caramel. Just be sure any candy you use is kosher for Passover.
    • Make a Passover seder plate. You can get your kids to make and decorate a plate and bowls for the seder plate. This can be a good Passover activity for children of any age group.
    • Make an afikomen bag. You can also make a custom bag for the afikoman. Sew or buy a basic bag and let your kids decorate it with drawings, baubles, or any images related to Passover.
  5. Advertisement

Total notes of this article: 0 in 0 rating

Click on stars to rate this article