The word 'Pesach' comes from a Hebrew root meaning "pass by" or "to spare".
The word 'Passover' comes from a English-Pass'over.
The celebration of the holiday begins after sundown on the 14th of Nisanvernal, the first month of the Jewish ecclesiastical year, about the time of the equinox.
The holiday is celebrated for eight days and on the first two nights, there is a ceremonial meal, known as the Seder, The Seder consists of prescribed foods, each of which symbolizes some aspect of the ordeal during the enslavement in Egypt.
During the Seder the narrative of the exodus is told and prayers of thanksgiving are offered up to God for his loving protection. The readings, songs, and prayers of the Seder are contained in the Haggada.
Throughout the holiday the Orthodox Jew must abstain from eating leavened bread, substituting unleavened bread, usually in the form of matzo. These matzoth recall the unleavened bread eaten by the Hebrews during their flight because they had no time to prepare raised bread. They did not have time to let their bread rise. They made flat, unleavened bread instead. Therefore, Jews eat matzahs instead of leavened bread during Passover. Orthodox Jewish tradition prescribes that, during Passover, meals be prepared and served using sets of utensils and dishes reserved strictly for that festival.
These are Matzahs:
afikomen cover for Matza
These are more foods that are eaten as part of the Passover seder:
Above is a picture of a traditional seder plate. Each food has a different meaning. Bitter herbs, salt, apples, nuts... and more are all symbolic of the time of slavery in Egypt.
Flash, Text and html: Rachel A., Julian Middle School
Background: Rachel A.
Photos: Goren, Marsha. afikomen.jpg, Hagaddah.jpg, matza.jpg, Seder_table.jpg, sederplate.jpg, tears.jpg. GlobalDreamers . March, 2006. <http://www.globaldreamers.org>