What is Passover?

Passover is a celebration of the story of Exodus. During Passover, Jews remember how their ancestors left slavery behind them when they were led out of Egypt by Moses. Passover is celebrated with a series of rituals. Each ritual symbolises a different part of the story.

When is Passover?

Passover (or Pesach in Hebrew) is one of the most important festivals in the Jewish year. It is a Spring festival that begins on the 15th day of Nisan, the first month of the Jewish calendar. The celebrations last for seven or eight days, depending on where you live. In 2020 Passover begins on the evening of Wednesday 8 April.

What is the story of Passover?

Moses and the pharaoh.

Moses lived in Egypt. He saw that the Israelites were being persecuted so he went to see the pharaoh. Moses asked the pharaoh to set the Jewish people free, but the pharaoh refused.

1 of 9

Click on the picture to learn about the ten plagues

How is Passover celebrated?

On the evening before Passover starts, Jews have a special service called a Seder (Order). This takes place over a meal with family and friends at home.

During the meal, the story of Exodus is told from a book called the Haggadah (Narration). Everybody takes part in reading from the Haggadah. Some parts are read in Hebrew and some parts are read in English.

Everyone at the Seder has a cushion to lean on. This reminds them that they are now free people and no longer slaves. They also sing lots of songs.

The Seder plate

Click on the Seder plate to learn the significance of the six items.

Matzah

On the table there are three Matzah (bread that is flat because it has not risen). At the start of the Seder, the middle Matzah is broken and the largest piece is hidden. During the Seder the children hunt for it. The one who finds it receives a small prize.

Wine

Four small glasses of wine remind Jews of the four times God promised freedom to the Israelites. An extra cup of wine is placed on the table and the door is left open for the prophet Elijah. Jews believe that one day, Elijah will reappear and he will announce the coming of the Messiah.

Where next?

What is Easter?
KS2 Religious Education
Bitesize Primary KS2

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