Break out the matzah and start practicing the Four Questions — Passover, or "Pesach," is here. When is Passover 2018? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
But first, the basics: Passover celebrates the Israelites’ journey out of slavery and into freedom, away from Egyptian reign.
When are the Passover Seders?
There are two Passover Seders: one on each of the first two nights. During these gatherings, families read from the Haggadah, which details the story of The Exodus. There are many kinds of Haggadahs — my family normally uses one that omits the word "God" — and, if you're looking for a good option online, you can try this printable PDF from the Jewish Federation.
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In terms of what the Haggadah details, here's how it goes: Long story short, Moses led the slave-burdened Israelites out of Egypt — where Pharaoh brutally reigned — after God sent forth ten plagues on the Egyptians. These were as follows: blood, frogs, gnats, flies, blight of the livestock, boils, hail, locusts, darkness and the death of the firstborn. (It's a lot, I know.)
Also included in the story is the Parting of the Red Sea in which God, through Moses, parted its waves to let the Israelites cross, unharmed.
It went like so:
Traditional aspects of the Passover Seder include eating bitter herbs to represent the Israelites’ harsh, labor-intensive slavery, drinking four cups of wine (grape juice for the kids) and reciting the Four Questions (the youngest family member present usually does this, and my twin and I are stuck with the job every year).
The Seder plate includes: matzah, zeroa (shankbone), beitzah (egg), maror (bitter herbs), yummy charoset (mixture of nuts, fruit and spices) and karpas (a green vegetable that is most often parsley).
For the record, my favorite part of the Seder is the dinner portion where I eat bowls of my grandma’s matzah ball soup (thanks Grandma!).
I also enjoyed the hunt for the afikomen (the "dessert" matzah) as a kid — mainly because the winner gets money.
Do people fast on Passover?
It’s tradition during the eight days of Passover (seven days in Israel) to cut out leaven, or "chametz," from your diet. The reason? Israelites left Egypt so quickly, they didn’t have time for their bread to rise. (That’s why you'll typically see people eating matzah instead!)
So, when is Passover 2018?
Passover 2018 starts on the evening of Friday, March 30 and ends on the evening of Saturday, April 7.
Why is it called Passover?
We've answered your question of when is Passover 2018, but what about the name? During the tenth and final plague, God killed the firstborn of every Egyptian.
The Israelites marked their doors with lamb’s blood so that God would "pass over" their homes and spare them from this plague — hence, "Passover."
Now I, for one, am ready for my matzah ball soup. (Get cookin' Grandma — love you!)