Commencing on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan, Passover is a seven-eight days long festival celebrated by Jews all over the world. This festival is celebrated in commemoration of the exodus of Jews from Egypt, which happed more than 3,000 years ago. Regarded as one of the most important as well as most favorite of all Jewish holidays, Passover has great religious importance. There are many reasons for Pesach being the most anticipated festival of the Jewish community. One of the prime reasons is that this festival involves elaborate domestic rituals. People start preparing for the Passover by cleaning and decorating their homes. Fasting and feasting are also very important. Another important thing Jews follow on this celebration is to keep themselves away from forbidden food. Learn more about the rituals associated with this festival from the following part of this article.
Pesach Celebration Ideas
Cleaning The House
Passover preparations begin with thorough cleaning of the house. This not a simple task as the observant should get rid of all traces of prohibited food, called chametz (any leavened products such as grains, bread, cereal, vinegar and cornstarch) from the house. Brushing up the last crumbs into a disposal bag with a feather or a palm branch, one should say, "All leaven I have not seen or removed or that I don't know about is hereby null and void and ownerless as the dust of the earth." One should then burn off all the chametz collected from the house. If you don't want to burn the chametz, you may store it in a remote, sealed-off part of the house or give it to a non-Jewish friend to keep in his custody and redeem them after Passover.
If you are the firstborn male in your family, then you must fast on the day before Passover, i.e., the fourteenth day of the Nisan month. This custom commemorates the fact that the firstborn Jewish males in Egypt were not killed during the final plague. Fasting is observed for several reasons. Firstly, fasting is believed to help in achieving of atonement for sins and omissions in divine service even though it is not considered as the primary means of acquiring atonement. Secondly, it is considered a ritual associated with commemorative mourning. Thirdly, it is aimed to express gratitude towards god. As food and drinks are primary corporal needs, it is believed that abstinence from them would help a person concentrate more on spiritual aspects.
While Bayit Chadash, the Sefer Agudah, and arguably the Maharil, advices that both men and women are obligated to fast, The Rema and the Vilna Gaon rule exempt women from observing fast. Though all authorities ask the firstborn to both parents or a firstborn to only the mother to fast, observing fast by firstborn to only the father is still debatable. If the oldest child in the family had expired, then the subsequent member is not required to fast. However, if the oldest child had died within 30 days of birth, the subsequent child is entitled to fast.
People who observe Passover should refrain from taking chametz, i.e. leavened products like grains, bread, cereal, vinegar and cornstarch, at any time during the seven or eight days of Passover.
You have to refrain from all work on the first and last days of Passover. However, you are allowed to work on the intermediate days, which are called Chol Ha-Mo'ed.
Seder ceremony is observed on the first 2 nights of Passover. As per the Haggadah, the following 14 steps form a part of the Seder meal:
This article will guide you on how to celebrate Passover. Go through the lines below to explore the celebration ideas and rituals associated with Pesach.
How To Celebrate Passover
- Singing blessings over the first cup of wine
- Washing hands
- Dipping a vegetable in salt water
- Breaking the middle Matzah and hiding the Afikoman
- Telling the Passover story, including asking the four questions, describing the four children and drinking the second cup of wine
- Washing hands before the meal
- Saying the blessings for Matzah
- Tasting the bitter herbs and dipping them in Haroset
- Eating a Matzah and bitter herb sandwich
- Enjoying the Festival meal
- Finding and eating the Afikoman
- Singing the blessings after the meal, drinking the third cup of wine, and opening the door for the prophet Elijah
- Singing Psalms of praise and drinking the fourth cup of wine
- Singing the traditional songs
Mentioned above are some important rituals observed during Passover. Hope this article helped you understand the major rituals associated with this festival. Happy Passover!