Passover Quick Facts - GB

AKA NamePesach, Feast of Unleavened Bread
HashtagsCompiled on#Passover, #Passover2024
Related Hashtags#Pesach, #Easter, #ChagSameach
2024 Date22 April 2024
2025 Date12 April 2025


Passover (Start) in
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Passover History

Passover commemorates the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt, as described in the Book of Exodus. This eight-day celebration is characterised by various customs, including the Seder meal, the removal of leavened products (chametz) from the home, and the eating of a type of unleavened bread known as matzah. The Seder meal, in particular, is highly symbolic, involving various rituals from drinking four cups of wine signifying God's four promises of redemption, to retelling the story of the Exodus.

Roots of Passover can be traced back to Biblical times, and the festival has been observed by Jewish communities for over 3000 years. In the UK, Jewish communities have a rich history and have continued to observe Passover and its rituals. Moreover, it's worth noting that more than just being a religious observance, Passover also serves as a time of introspection and learning, with particular emphasis on themes of freedom, justice, and social responsibility. Over time, these values have resonated with not only Jewish communities but also with many others in the UK, making Passover observances a broader reminder of shared societal values.

In terms of observing Passover in the UK, the customs are largely similar to global Jewish practices. The festival usually begins with the Seder meal on the first night, where families and friends gather to retell the Exodus story and share in symbolic foods. The following week is marked by abstaining from leavened products and participating in various community events and prayers. In the UK, Passover typically coincides with the Christian observance of Easter, as it starts on the 15th day of Nissan in the Hebrew calendar, which usually falls in March or April according to the Gregorian calendar.

Facts about Start of Passover

  • Traditionally, in accordance with Biblical Law, all Orthodox Jews remove all leaven bread, cakes, and flour-containing or flour-derived products from their homes in the weeks leading up to Passover. These products include beer, whiskey, flour, and all patisserie produces. Any products remaining on the Eve of Passover are given away to non-Jews, sold, or burnt.
  • On Passover, Jews are to eat only unleavened bread (Matzah), baked from flour and water and prepared (mixed and baked) within eighteen minutes. Unleavened bread symbolizes Israelites leaving Egypt in such haste they could not wait for their bread dough to rise.
  • On the first day of Passover it is customary to hold a Seder Night celebration with family and friends. During this celebration, the Haggadah typically read and sang. The Haggadah includes telling the story of fleeing of the Israelite slaves from Egypt, the fact that their dough could not rise due to the hurried exit, blessings over Matzah, and songs of praise and happiness.
  • During the 16th century, while the Spanish Inquisition was ongoing, many Conversos (forced converts to Christianity) fled to England. Although outwardly Christian, they continued to secretly observe Jewish rituals including Passover. These secret observances played a role in keeping their Jewish identity alive until it was safe to publicly embrace their heritage once again.
  • The Haggadah (the text that sets forth the order of the Passover Seder) is read at the dinner table. It tells the story of the Exodus.

Top things to do in the UK for Start of Passover

  • Attend a Seder dinner or learn how to make your own Seder.
  • Make Matzah. You can watch how to make matzah on youtube.
  • Visit the Jewish Museum London: The Jewish Museum London has the finest collection of Jewish history in all of Britain. During Passover, the museum often hosts special exhibits, events, and programs dedicated to Passover.
  • Participate in the JW3 Passover Celebration: JW3 is a Jewish Community Centre and arts venue in London that hosts various events such as Passover Seder meals, music and dance performances, and educational programs during Passover.

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