What Are Kitniyot?

Kitniyot (קִטְנִיּוֹת, also pronounced kitniyos) are a class of foods that many Ashkenazim and some Sefardim do not eat on Passover since they may be conflated with bread or other chametz products, which may not be eaten on the holiday. In addition to legumes, this prohibition includes rice, beans and corn.

Why Are Kitniyot Avoided?

The medieval Jewish sages placed a ban on eating legumes on Passover because they are similar in texture to chametz—even bread can be made out of their flour—so people might assume that if, for example, cornbread can be eaten on Passover, wheat or rye bread can be eaten too.

Who and What Are Included?

This injunction was unanimously accepted by Ashkenazic Jews; many Sephardic Jews, however, continue to eat kitniyot on Passover. If you are Sephardic, speak to your rabbi to determine your family and community tradition.

The prohibition is only with regards to consumption of kitniyot; there is no obligation, however, to destroy or sell kitniyot products before Passover.