What You Need to Know About the Jewish Holiday of Passover

The first night of Passover in 2019 begins April 19. (Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Friday night, millions of Jews across the globe will gather around a table to commemorate Passover, an eight-day holiday that remembers the exodus of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt more than 3,000 years ago.

One of the most important Jewish holidays of the year, Passover brings people together to retell the miracles of the exodus as recounted in the Bible.

Above all, the holiday of Passover is about coming together as one, and ends — in prayer and in thought — with the hope for peace for all.

For the uninitiated, here are five things to know about Passover:

1. It’s a family affair

Passover is ushered in with a ‘seder,’ a festive dinner that’s part performance, part groaning platters of food. (More religious Jews have seders on the first and second nights). The ritual includes four cups of wine and the recitation of the Haggadah, a Jewish text that includes prayers, excerpts of the story and songs. When you’re little, and hungry, it can feel as if the story is taking place in real time. (Bring on the food!) It’s meant to be low-key and, hopefully for those around the table, fun.

2. In bad news for carb lovers, no bread allowed

Jews who follow the holiday’s tenets can not eat chometz — any good that contains wheat, rye, barley, oats or spelt that has been in contact with water for more than 18 minutes — during these eight days. That’s right — no pizza, cookies or pasta. This is to commemorate the haste with which the Jewish people fled Egypt — they left so quickly that the bread they made didn’t have enough time to rise.

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Source: USA Today