Passover festival to start from evening of Monday, 14 April 2014, and ends in the evening of Tuesday, 22 April 2014.
Passover festival to start from evening of Friday, 03 April 2015, and ends in the evening of Saturday, 11 April 2015.
Passover - the most important Jewish festival
The Holy day of Passover is celebrated as the most important Jewish festival. This festival celebrates the occasion when in the ancient Egypt the Israelites were freed from slavery. According to this story of the Exodus, Passover has a grave significance in the minds of the Jews. Celebration continues for seven to eight days and usually falls in the spring season, so ideally it falls in the English calendar month of March or April.
Feast of unleavened breads
Passover is the "Feast of Unleavened Breads". As per the traditions, which the Jews follow rigidly, they do not consume any leavened bread and dispose them off before the beginning of the festivities. Leavened bread here refers to any grain or cereal that has become fermented because of being left over. It can be any kind of yeast bread or cake or even any beverage that is prepared by fermentation, or any food item prepared from barley, wheat, rye, oat, etc. All kinds of food preparation with yeast cannot be consumed. Not only is eating prohibited, possessing anything of this kind is also prohibited. So leavened eatables are all thrown away and be it house, workplace, or vehicle, everything is cleaned up thoroughly. Kitchens are specially cleaned for any remnants that might be lying hidden in some corner. The leavened bread is known as chametz whereas the unleavened bread is called matzah. The matzah meal on the other hand is a quick preparation made by mixing water with flour and is consumed during the days of festivities.
[caption id="attachment_1733" align="alignright" width="400" caption="Passover seder table setting"][/caption]
Passover Seder is a very important ritual that is performed by the entire family. During the performance of the ritual, the entire story of the liberation of the Israelites from the bondage is retold. The whole story of Exodus along with special songs to be sung on the occasion and rituals that are followed during the festival is all recorded in the Haggadah, which is an ancient work of literature.
Passover - Celebrations
These eight days are exclusively devoted to festivities. People take leave from offices, take part in prayer services, enjoy sumptuous festive delicacies or meals prepared exclusively for the occasion, and light candles at night. Nowadays, people indulge in various Passover crafts like preparing greeting cards, decorating special sedar placemats, and designing special sedar plates. A beautiful and creative fabric art called afikomen baq is taught to children. Also an important ritualistic symbol in the form of Elijah’s Goblet can be prepared by varied decorations.