Pessach Pesach Pascha Judentum Ungesaeuert Seder datafox.jpg
A table set up for a Passover Seder.
Official namePesachפסח (in Hebrew).
Observed byJews. (In various forms also by: Samaritans; Messianic Jews; Christians, some groups claiming affiliation with Israelites).
TypeJewish and Samaritan (One of the Three Pilgrimage Festivals), cultural
SignificanceCelebrates The Exodus, the freedom from slavery of the Children of Israel from ancient Egypt that followed the Ten Plagues.
Beginning of the 49 days of Counting of the Omer
Connected to barley harvest in spring.
CelebrationsIn Jewish practice, one or two festive Seder meals – first two nights; in the times of the Temple in Jerusalem, the Passover sacrifice. In Samaritan practice, men gather for a religious ceremony on Mount Gerizim that includes the ancient lamb sacrifice (7th day)
Begins15th day of Nisan[1][2]
Ends21st day of Nisan in Israel, and among some liberal Diaspora Jews; 22nd day of Nisan outside Israel among more traditional Diaspora Jews.[3]
Date15 Nisan, 16 Nisan, 17 Nisan, 18 Nisan, 19 Nisan, 20 Nisan, 21 Nisan, 22 Nisan
2017 dateSunset, 10 April –
nightfall, 18 April[4] (7 days)
2018 dateSunset, 30 March –
nightfall, 7 April (7 days)
2019 dateSunset, 19 April –
nightfall, 27 April (7 days)
2020 dateSunset, 8 April –
nightfall, 16 April (7 days)
Related toShavuot ("Festival of Weeks") which follows 49 days from the second night of Passover.

Passover, also called Pesach (x/;[5] from Hebrew פֶּסַחPesah, Pesakh), is a major, biblically derived Jewish holiday. Jews celebrate Passover as a commemoration of their liberation by God from slavery in ancient Egypt and their freedom as a nation under the leadership of Moses. It commemorates the story of the Exodus as described in the Hebrew Bible, especially in the Book of Exodus, in which the Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt. According to standard biblical chronology, this event would have taken place at about 1300 BCE (AM 2450).[6]

Passover is a spring festival which during the existence of the Temple in Jerusalem was connected to the offering of the "first-fruits of the barley", barley being the first grain to ripen and to be harvested in the Land of Israel.[7]

Passover commences on the 15th of the Hebrew month of Nisan and lasts for either seven days (in Israel and for Reform Jews and other progressive Jews around the world who adhere to the Biblical commandment) or eight days for Orthodox, Hasidic, and most Conservative Jews (in the diaspora).[8][9] In Judaism, a day commences at dusk and lasts until the following dusk, thus the first day of Passover begins after dusk of the 14th of Nisan and ends at dusk of the 15th day of the month of Nisan. The rituals unique to the Passover celebrations commence with the Passover Seder when the 15th of Nisan has begun. In the Northern Hemisphere Passover takes place in spring as the Torah prescribes it: "in the month of [the] spring" (Torah prescribes it: "in the month of [the] spring" (Exodus 23:15). It is one of the most widely celebrated Jewish holidays.

In the narrative of the Exodus, the Bible tells that God helped the Children of Israel escape from their slavery in Egypt by inflicting ten plagues upon the ancient Egyptians before the Pharaoh would release his Israelite slaves; the tenth and worst of the plagues was the death of the Egyptian first-born.

The Israelites were instructed to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a slaughtered spring lamb and, upon seeing this, the spirit of the Lord knew to pass over the first-born in these homes, hence the English name of the holiday.[10]

When the Pharaoh freed the Israelites, it is said that they left in such a hurry that they could not wait for bread dough to rise (leaven). In commemoration, for the duration of Passover no leavened bread is eaten, for which reason Passover is called the feast of unleavened bread in the Torah or Old Testament.[11] Thus matzo (flat unleavened bread) is eaten during Passover and it is a tradition of the holiday.

Historically, together with Shavuot ("Pentecost") and Sukkot ("Tabernacles"), Passover is one of the Three Pilgrimage Festivals (Shalosh Regalim) during which the entire population of the kingdom of Judah made a pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem.[12] Samaritans still make this pilgrimage to Mount Gerizim, but only men participate in public worship.[13][14]

Date and duration

The Passover begins on the 15th day of the month of Nisan, which typically falls in March or April of the Gregorian calendar. Passover is a spring festival, so the 15th day of Nisan typically begins on the night of a full moon after the northern vernal equinox.[15] However, due to leap months falling after the vernal equinox, Passover sometimes starts on the second full moon after vernal equinox, as in 2016.

To ensure that Passover did not start before spring, the tradition in ancient Israel held that the first day of Nisan would not start until the barley was ripe, being the test for the onset of spring.[16] If the barley was not ripe, or various other phenomena[17] indicated that spring was not yet imminent, an intercalary month (Adar II) would be added. However, since at least the 4th century, the date has been fixed mathematically.[18]

In Israel, Passover is the seven-day holiday of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, with the first and last days celebrated as legal holidays and as holy days involving holiday meals, special prayer services, and abstention from work; the intervening days are known as Chol HaMoed ("Weekdays [of] the Festival"). Diaspora Jews historically celebrated the festival for eight days. Reform and Reconstructionist Jews and Israeli Jews, wherever they are, usually celebrate the holiday over seven days. The reason for this extra day is due to enactment of the ancient Jewish sages.[citation needed] It is thought by many scholars that Jews outside of Israel could not be certain if their local calendars fully conformed to practice of the Temple at Jerusalem, so they added an extra day. But as this practice attaches only to certain (major) sacred days, others posit the extra day may have been added to accommodate people who had to travel long distances to participate in communal worship and ritual practices; or the practice may have evolved as a compromise between conflicting interpretations of Jewish Law regarding the calendar; or it may have evolved as a safety measure in areas where Jews were commonly in danger, so that their enemies would not be certain on which day to attack.[19]

Karaites and Samaritans use different versions of the Jewish calendar, which are often out of sync with the modern Jewish calendar by one or two days.[20] In 2009, for example, Nisan 15 on the Jewish calendar used by Rabbinic Judaism corresponds to April 9. On the calendars used by Karaites and Samaritans, Abib or Aviv 15 (as opposed to 'Nisan') corresponds to April 11 in 2009. The Karaite and Samaritan Passovers are each one day long, followed by the six-day Festival of Unleavened Bread – for a total of seven days.[21]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Pessach
Alemannisch: Pessach
asturianu: Pésaj
башҡортса: Песах
беларуская: Песах
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Пэсах
български: Пасха
Boarisch: Pessach
bosanski: Pesah
català: Péssah
Cebuano: Pesaḥ
čeština: Pesach
dansk: Pesach
Deutsch: Pessach
español: Pésaj
Esperanto: Pesaĥo
euskara: Pessah
فارسی: پسح
français: Pessa'h
galego: Pessach
한국어: 유월절
hrvatski: Pasha
Bahasa Indonesia: Paskah Yahudi
italiano: Pesach
עברית: פסח
ქართული: ფესახი
Ladino: Pesah
latviešu: Pesahs
lietuvių: Pascha
magyar: Pészah
македонски: Пасха
Malagasy: Paska jiosy
მარგალური: ფესახი
Bahasa Melayu: Paskah Yahudi
Nederlands: Pesach
日本語: 過越
norsk: Pesach
norsk nynorsk: Pesah
پنجابی: پیساخ
ភាសាខ្មែរ: បុណ្យរំលង
polski: Pesach
português: Pessach
română: Pesah
русский: Песах
Scots: Passower
Simple English: Passover
slovenčina: Pesach
slovenščina: Pasha
српски / srpski: Пасха
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Pasha
suomi: Pesah
svenska: Pesach
Tagalog: Pesaḥ
தமிழ்: பாஸ்கா
ไทย: ปัสคา
українська: Песах
اردو: عید فسح
Tiếng Việt: Lễ Vượt Qua
ייִדיש: פסח
Zazaki: Pesax
中文: 逾越節