How is Passover celebrated today?
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Q:

How is Passover celebrated today?

A:

Quick Answer

Passover is commemorated through a celebration that lasts seven or eight days. During the celebration, the story of the Israelites fleeing from Egypt is told and songs are sung.

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Often, a Passover celebration starts by a thorough house cleaning to rid the home of any leaven. Tradition states that the Jews escaped Egypt in such a hurry that they didn't have time to let the bread rise, which occurs through leavening.

The Seder ceremony is traditionally celebrated on the first night of Passover, but many Jews also hold Seders on other nights during the holiday. The Seder starts out with a ceremony involving a lamb bone, a roasted egg, green vegetables dipped in salt water, bitter herbs and charoset (a type of an apple), walnut and wine concoction. The ceremony also includes matzo, which is an unleavened bread and the only type of bread allowed during Passover. Four cups of wine are placed at the table to symbolize the four expressions of freedom. An extra place is set and left empty for Elijah the prophet, who is expected to come to announce the coming of the Messiah.

After the meal, the tale of the Israelites' flight from Egypt is read from the Haggadah, a guide to the ceremony, and songs are sung in celebration.

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Related Questions

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    How is Moses important to Passover?

    A:

    Moses is arguably the most important human figure in Judaism, and, as a prophet, Moses helped lead the enslaved Jewish people in Egypt to their liberation; the story of this escape to freedom is told in the Old Testament book of Exodus and is the main focus of the Passover celebration. Second only to God in importance during the Passover celebration, Moses is seen as a liberator and leader who was able to help carry out God's will on Earth and free the enslaved Hebrew people in Egypt, in spite of the fact that the pharaoh did not want to let these slaves go. Moses' story is complex, and though he is ethnically Jewish, he was adopted as an orphan by the pharaoh's household.

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  • Q:

    How are each of the days of Passover celebrated?

    A:

    Passover is typically observed over a course of 8 days (though some Jewish people observe the religious holiday for only 7 days); typically, the first and last couple of days of the Passover period are the days that are reserved for ritual observance. These rituals may include the consumption of a traditional Passover seder, which is a 15-step meal that is typically consumed in a large group of family and friends. Other rituals performed on the first and/or last two of days of Passover may include lighting of special holiday candles and the consumption of blessed wine known as kiddush.

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  • Q:

    How do you prepare for Passover?

    A:

    The exact process of preparing for Passover may depend on how strictly one observes the holiday; those who practice strict religious observance will need to clear all leavened grain products, known as chametz, from their homes and make sure kosher products are available to eat during the 7-to-8 day observance of Passover. Those who are less strict about their observance of religious holidays such as Passover may or may not remove chametz from their homes, and they may or may not choose to replace non-kosher items with appropriate kosher products. Other preparations, such as planning, shopping for and cooking dishes for the seder dinner may also depend on individual factors.

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  • Q:

    What are the three other names for Passover?

    A:

    In addition to being known somewhat colloquially as Passover, this Jewish holiday of remembrance is known by three alternate names, including the Holiday of Mazot, the Season of Our Freedom and Pesach. Each of these names refers directly to the holiday, but each has its own origin and specific point of reference.

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