What Day Is Passover in the Bible?
Passover is one of the most significant holidays in the Jewish calendar. It commemorates the liberation of the Hebrew people from slavery in ancient Egypt, as described in the Bible. The date of Passover varies each year, as it is determined according to the Jewish lunar calendar. In this article, we will explore the biblical origins of Passover and provide five interesting facts about this important holiday.
Passover is mentioned several times in the Bible, particularly in the Book of Exodus. According to the biblical account, the Hebrew people were enslaved in Egypt for over 400 years until Moses, under God’s guidance, led them to freedom. Passover marks the night when the tenth plague struck Egypt, leading to the release of the Israelites. The Israelites were instructed to mark their doorposts with the blood of a lamb, so the angel of death would “pass over” their homes, sparing their firstborn sons.
Here are five interesting facts about Passover:
1. The Timing of Passover: Passover begins on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan, which usually falls in March or April on the Gregorian calendar. The Jewish calendar is based on the lunar cycle, so the dates of Passover fluctuate each year.
2. Matzah, the Unleavened Bread: During Passover, Jews eat unleavened bread called matzah. This symbolizes the haste in which the Israelites left Egypt, without time for their bread to rise. Matzah is an essential part of the Passover Seder, the traditional meal held on the first night of the holiday.
3. The Seder Plate: The Seder Plate is a centerpiece of the Passover celebration. It contains several symbolic items, each representing an element of the Exodus story. These include the shank bone of a lamb, bitter herbs, a roasted egg, charoset (a mixture of fruits and nuts), and karpas (a vegetable dipped in saltwater).
4. Four Cups of Wine: During the Passover Seder, four cups of wine are consumed. Each cup corresponds to a different aspect of the Exodus narrative: freedom, deliverance, redemption, and completion. The cups are a symbol of joy and celebration.
5. The Afikomen: An important part of the Seder involves breaking the middle matzah in half, keeping one half as the afikomen. The afikomen is then hidden, and the children present are encouraged to find it. The child who finds the afikomen receives a reward, adding an element of fun and excitement to the celebration.
Now, let’s explore thirteen interesting questions and answers about Passover:
1. Why is Passover called Passover? The name “Passover” refers to the biblical event when the angel of death passed over the homes marked with lamb’s blood, sparing the Israelite firstborns.
2. How long does Passover last? Passover lasts for seven or eight days, depending on the Jewish tradition being followed.
3. What is the significance of the bitter herbs on the Seder Plate? Bitter herbs represent the bitterness of slavery experienced by the Hebrew people in Egypt.
4. What does the roasted egg symbolize? The roasted egg represents the cycle of life and the hope of new beginnings.
5. Why is the charoset mixture sweet? The sweet charoset represents the mortar used by the Israelites when they were slaves, reminding them of the sweetness of freedom.
6. Can non-Jews participate in Passover celebrations? Passover is primarily a Jewish holiday, but non-Jews are often welcome to join in the celebrations and learn about its significance.
7. What is the purpose of the four cups of wine? The four cups of wine symbolize different stages of redemption and joy during the Exodus story.
8. Why is unleavened bread eaten during Passover? Unleavened bread symbolizes the haste in which the Israelites left Egypt, as they did not have time for their bread to rise.
9. What is the significance of the number four in the Passover Seder? The number four represents the four expressions of redemption mentioned in the Exodus narrative.
10. What role did Moses play in the Passover story? Moses was the leader chosen by God to free the Hebrew people from slavery and lead them to the Promised Land.
11. How is Passover celebrated in modern times? Passover is celebrated by gathering with family and friends for the Seder meal, retelling the Exodus story, and observing various customs and traditions.
12. Are there any dietary restrictions during Passover? Yes, during Passover, Jews avoid consuming any leavened products, known as chametz, and instead eat unleavened bread and other specially prepared foods.
13. What is the message of Passover for people today? Passover serves as a reminder of the importance of freedom, liberation, and the pursuit of justice for all people, regardless of their background or circumstances.
In conclusion, Passover holds great significance in the Bible as it memorializes the liberation of the Hebrew people from slavery in ancient Egypt. This annual celebration is marked by various traditions, such as the Seder meal, the consumption of unleavened bread, and the retelling of the Exodus story. Through these practices, Passover allows individuals to reflect on the timeless values of freedom, redemption, and hope.