Everyone eagerly waits for the celebrations of the Passover festival to shoot start to enjoy the wondrous moments. Passover is welcomed on the 15th day of the month of Nisan according to the Gregorian calendar and the Hebrew Bible. It is a festival that ushers in spring and is considered to be a seven day holiday of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The festival includes special prayer services and holiday meals and the superseding days are known as Chol HaMoed (festival days). The feast of unleavened bread succeeds that of Passover, and falls on the fifteenth day of the month, and continues for seven days. On this day, the devout feed on the unleavened bread. The Karaite Jews and the Samaritans use different versions of the Jewish calendar which might differ from the modern Jewish calendar by one or two days. Scroll further to catch with the celebrations that take place during the Passover week.
Pesach Week Celebrations
A Passover week celebration lasts for seven days with customary practices and specific food. Read the article to know more about Pesach week celebrations.
- In Israel, Passover lasts for seven days with the first and last days being major Jewish holidays. In Conservative communities, no work is carried out on those days, with most of rules relating to the ceremonial procedures of Shabbat being functional. A Seder is held on the first day. On the first night of Passover it is traditional for Jewish families to gather for a special dinner called Seder. In Hebrew, it refers to a specific order of ritual. During the meal, the story of Exodus from Egypt is recited using a special text called the Haggadah. Four cups of wine are consumed at various stages of storyline description. The Haggadah divides the night's procedure into 15 parts.
- The Seder is complete with questions, answers and unusual practices like the recital of Kiddush. This is not immediately followed by the blessing of bread, which is the traditional procedure for all other holiday meals to arouse the interest and inquisitiveness of the children at the table. The children are also rewarded with nuts and candies when they ask questions and participate in the discussion of the Exodus and its aftermath. Likewise, they are encouraged to search for the Afikoman, the piece of matzo which is the last thing eaten at the Seder. Audience participation and interaction is the rule, and many families' Seders last long into the night with animated discussions and much singing. The Seder concludes with additional songs of praise and faith printed in the Haggadah.
- On the start of the second night of Passover, the 16 day of Nissan Jews begin the practice of counting Of the Omer. Each night after the evening prayer, service men and women recite a special prayer and specify the day of the Omer. The physical freedom that the Hebrews achieved at the Exodus from Egypt was only the beginning of a process that climaxed with the spiritual freedom they gained at the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. The seventh day of Passover Shiv'i Shei is a full Jewish holiday with special prayers and festive meals. Outside the Land of Israel in the Jewish diaspora, Shvi'i shel Pesach is celebrated on both the seventh and eighth days of Passover. This holiday commemorates the day the Children of Israel reached the Red Sea and witnessed both the miraculous "Splitting of the Sea," the drowning of all the Egyptian chariots, horses and soldiers that pursued them, and the Passage of the Red Sea. According to the Midrash, only the Pharaoh was spared to give testimony to the miracle that occurred.
- The "Second Passover" (Pesach Sheni) on the 14th of Iyar in the Hebrew Calendar is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible as a make-up day for people who were unable to offer the Pesach sacrifice at the appropriate time due to ritual impurity or distance from Jerusalem. Just as on the first Pesach night, breaking bones from the second Paschal offering or leaving meat over until morning were prohibited. Because the house is free of chometz for eight days, the Jewish household typically eats different foods during the week of Passover. Many meals include leftovers from the initial Seders. Other foods are also prepared, these include: matzah kugel, chrain, Gelfilte fish, etc.