Passover is a celebration of Freedom. It is a Spring holiday where Jewish people only eat unleavened bread for 7 days in Israel or 8 days in diaspora. We commemorate the exodus from Egypt when there was no time to let the traditional bread rise, so a quick throwing together of the main ingredients instead resulted in matzo!
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On one hand, eating matzo reminds us of our deliverance from a formidable adversary, Pharaoh, and getting out of Egypt. But, like many other Jewish celebrations (think wedding), we are not only rejoicing, but must also be reminded to remember our suffering and remain humble, lest we forget what it was like to be slaves. Some folks refer to matzo as the "bread of affliction" because it represents our suffering as slaves, or as lechem oni, "poor man's bread" in Hebrew.
Passover is in the Spring, usually in March or April.
We celebrate the first night of Passover with the seder (and the second night in the diaspora). The Passover seder is a festive meal that follows the order of the Haggadah, which includes the retelling of the story of the exodus from Egypt.
The centerpiece of the seder is the seder plate which includes all the symbols from slavery to freedom that the story encapsulates. Included is charoset, a chutney like spread of apples, nuts and wine to symbolize the mortar that was used to build the pyramids and the bitter herbs to remind us of the difficult times our ancestors underwent.
On Passover we not only avoid unleavened bread, but most grains as well, so the food on Passover is unique and special in its way. Macaroons, or almond cookies, are popular desserts, and chicken soup with matzo balls is a staple. Learn more about Passover with our collection of guides.