Passover Fact File

Mar 30, 2018  |  By Sarah Gold

Discover everything you need to know about Passover ahead of the Pesach holiday!

Name: Passover
Dates: 15th Nissan
Length: Eight days

Different Names for Passover:

Did you know that there are four different names for Passover? They are:

  • Pesach
    “Pesach” means to pass over, and this name comes from God “passing over” the Jews’ homes during the plague that killed all the Egyptian first borns.
  • Chag HaMatzot
    Literally, the Festival of Matzah. The Midrash says that when the Israelites left Egypt, they were in a hurry, so didn’t have enough time to bake their bread dough. It baked on their backs as they escaped into the desert. God then commanded the Jewish nation to refrain from bread and eat matzah during the holiday.
  • Chag HaAviv
    The spring festival. This unsurprising name refers to Passover occurring in the spring!
  • Zman Cherateinu
    Translated as “the time of our freedom”, this name is in celebration of the Israelites’ hard-won freedoms and the end of their oppressive slavery.

Holiday of Fours

The number four is a recurrent theme throughout Passover. Here are some examples:

  • The Four Sons
  • Four Questions
  • Four Cups of Wine

Here are some other facts about Passover:

  • Passover starts with the Seder, which is an event that’s totally unique to Passover
  • There’s a custom not to eat roasted meats on Seder night, as it reminds people of the now-defunct Pascal lamb
  • Passover is one of just two holidays that Hallel (a praise-filled prayer service) is recited at night. This is because the Israelites left Egypt under a cover of darkness
  • All things bread-like – including regular cakes, pastas, and biscuits – are prohibited
  • As well as not eating bread and similar foods, Jews of Ashkenazi descent also refrain from eating kitniot – pulses and legumes

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