Pesach or Passover is a religious festival celebrated by the Jewish community to commemorate Israel's freedom from slavery under the Egyptians. The weeklong festival begins on 15th day of Nisan month in Jewish calendar. The festival is celebrated for seven days in Israel and for eight days by the Jewish diasporas. Passover is one of the three important Jewish festivals, the two other festivals being Sukkot and Shavu'ot. The Passover festival is being celebrated with much fun-fare, religious fervor and gaiety. The celebration is often marked by family get-togethers, feasting on Seder meal and merriment. The Pesach Seder celebrated in Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, is considered to be the largest in the world. It has now become a favorite spot for Jews during Pesach festival. Pesach festival was first celebrated in Nepal in 1989 by Israeli and Jewish travelers and has since been observed annually in this Himalayan country.
Passover Celebration In Nepal
Pesach or Feast of Unleavened Bread
Pesach in Nepal is known as the largest Pesach Seder in the world. Learn more about Pesach celebration in Nepal.
Passover in Nepal
- Passover festival is widely known as “Feast of Unleavened Bread” because according to the biblical records or story of Exodus, the Egyptians hastily departed that they could not wait for bread to leaven it. So, during the festival, all forms of leaven bread or chametz are not allowed to eat. Devotes are encouraged to feast on lamb, unleavened bread, and bitter herbs during the weeklong Pesach festival.
- The Seder meal is a ritual feast taken during Pesach fest. The Seder meal is taken on first and second Pesach night. This festive supper meal marks the beginning of the weeklong Pesach festival. It has been a tradition for elders to narrate the story of exodus to children over the Sedar meal. They also read a book “hagaddah” which means telling that covers songs, rituals, readings and the order of prayers for Pesach festival.
Celebrations In Nepal
- The tradition of observing Pesach festival in Nepal was started in 1989 by Jewish travelers and trekkers. The first ever Pesach meal in Nepal was held in Pumpernickel Bakery in Thamel. Since then the 'Seder on Top of the World' has been annual feature in Kathmandu city, which is also considered as the largest Passover Seders in the world. The Jewish community in Nepal has been celebrating Pesach festival for over two decades. Today, hundreds and thousands of Jews — mostly backpackers from different parts of the world — congregate in this small Himalayan country to be a part of largest and grandest Pesach Seder in the world. Jews from Europe, America, Australia and Israel trek up the mountainous region to celebrate Pesach festival amidst natural picturesque landscape and beautiful valleys.
- Numerous Lubavitch rabbis are assigned at the Beth Chabad, Jewish religious center, in Thamel in Katmandu to prepare for the Seder that will be witnessed by thousands of Jewish backpackers during Passover festival. Hundreds of pounds of kosher matzah, fish, meat, wine and Haggadahs are brought along for the Seder.
- Jews from all across the world, including Israel, America, Australia and Europe arrive early in India and trek up the Himalayas to reach Kathmandu for the festive celebrations. Apart from the Orthodox Jews, other Jews visit this place to experience a unique religious carnival. Many enthusiastic visitors volunteer for the Seder meal preparation. The Pesach night is arranged in a huge army tent decked up in front of the Israeli embassy. Long tables are lined up decorated with Haggadahs, bottles of wine and Seder plates. Every Jew gets a chance to connect with his religion and know its true meaning.
- While the largest Seder is celebrated in Katmandu, the second largest can be experienced in Pokhara. This place is considered even more breathtaking than Kathmandu since it is nestled in natural picturesque valley. Pokhara, termed as Nepal's center of adventure, witnesses around 500 Jewish spectators from all over the world during Passover festival The Lubavitch World Headquarters delegate additional rabbis and food to organize the Seder at this place.
Truly, Nepal is a wonder to watch during the holy festival of Passover illuminated with the lights of spirituality and religious fervor.