Is Passover the same as Pesach?

Yes, Passover and Pesach are synonymous. Pesach is Hebrew for “pass over.” The holiday was thus named because before the Exodus, which is celebrated during this holiday, G‑d smote every firstborn Egyptian, but the homes of the people of Israel were “passed over.”

Read: What Does Passover Mean?

Is Passover one of the High Holidays?

No, the High Holidays typically refer to the cluster of Jewish holidays that take place each fall, notably Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Passover, on the other hand, is celebrated six months later, in the spring.

Read: The High Holidays

Is Passover 7 or 8 days?

It depends. The Bible mandates that Passover be celebrated for seven days, and that is how long it lasts in Israel. In the diaspora, however, an extra day is tacked onto almost all biblical holidays, and Passover is no exception. This extra day of Passover is known as Acharon Shel Pesach (“Final [Day of] Passover”).

Read: Why Celebrate An Extra Day Outside of Israel?

Is Passover the same as the Seder?

Technically, Passover refers to the lamb our ancestors would sacrifice each year to eat on Passover eve during a special feast called the Seder. In common parlance, Passover has come to refer to the entire holiday, while the Seder is the name of the ritual feast conducted on the first (and, in the diaspora, the second) night of Passover.

Read: What Is the Seder?

Is Passover always in the spring?

Yes, the Bible mandates that Passover be observed in the spring. To accomplish this, a thirteenth month is occasionally tacked onto the lunar year, which is approximately 11 days shorter than the solar year.

Read: Passover and the Equinox

Is Passover in the Bible?

Yes, Passover is mandated in the Book of Exodus and reinforced in subsequent books as well.

Read: Passover in the Bible

Is Passover a Jewish holiday?

Yes, Passover is a Jewish holiday, marking the birth of the Jewish people, when G‑d led us out of Egypt in order to give us the Torah and bring us to the Promised Land. It is celebrated by Jews of all ethnicities and levels of involvement. In fact, it is believed that more Jewish people celebrate Passover than any other Jewish holiday.

Read: Why Jews Celebrate Passover

Is Passover celebrated with special foods?

Yes, for the duration of Passover, only “kosher for Passover” food may be consumed. In practice, this means that anything containing chametz(grain that has risen or fermented), including breads, pastas, beers, liquors and more, is to be avoided at all costs.

Read: What is Kosher for Passover?

Special Passover foods:

Matzah: As mandated in the Bible, matzah, unleavened bread, is eaten at the Passover Seder. Aside from the Seder, matzah is often a staple on the menu, since bread (and other forms of chametz) is forbidden.

Marror: Often taking the form of romaine lettuce and/or grated horseradish, marror (“bitter herbs”) is eaten during the Seder feast.

Dips: When we eat marror at the Seder, we first dip it into charoset, a paste of ground apples, pears, wine, nuts and other ingredients. It is also customary to begin the evening by eating a veggie dipped in saltwater. (Later on in the meal, there is also a custom to dip an egg in saltwater.)

Wine: Celebrating our national freedom, Jews drink four goblets of wine or grape juice during the course of the Seder eve.

Special family recipes: While not mandated by Jewish law, many families and communities have developed their unique and beloved Passover foods, which they enjoy each year.

Read: 10 Traditional Passover Foods

Is Passover always the same day of the week?

No, Passover can begin on Saturday night, Monday night, Wednesday night or Friday night. Wondering when Passover begins this year?

Read: When Is Passover for the Next Five Years?

Is Passover the Jewish New Year?

Not really. The Jewish calendar is tricky, and Nissan (the month during which we celebrate Passover) is designated by the Bible as “the head of the months.” However, for most purposes, the Jewish New Year is half a year later, on the first of Tishrei, celebrated by Jews as Rosh Hashanah (“head of the year”).

Read: Our Other Head

Is Passover on the same date each year?

Passover always begins on the eve of 15 Nissan. However, on the secular calendar this can fluctuate. Generally speaking, it occurs during late March or early April.

Read: Why Is Passover In the Spring?

Is Passover a Sabbath?

Not really. “Shabbat” (the word English speakers have turned into “Sabbath”) means “rest,” and sometimes also refers to the annual holidays, when work is forbidden, including Passover. (For example, in Leviticus 23:15.) In common parlance, however, “Shabbat” refers almost exclusively to the weekly day of rest, observed from Friday afternoon to Saturday night. The annual holidays, conversely, are referred to as yom tov, “good day,” or chag, “festival.”

Read: What Is Shabbat?

Is Passover the same as the Feast of Unleavened Bread?

As mentioned above, in its purest sense, Passover refers to the lamb or kid that was sacrificed on the afternoon of 14 Nissan, and then eaten that night. However, in common parlance both Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Chag Hamatzot, in Hebrew) refer to the seven- (or eight-) day holiday, during which we recall our nation’s miraculous Exodus from Egypt.

Read: What Is Passover?