Passover: When, What, How?

When is Passover?

April 5, 2023, at sundown through April 12th sundown

Did you know that God commanded Passover as an everlasting ordinance in Exodus 12:4 and 13:1? 

What Is Passover?

Passover is a holiday celebrated across the world by Jews, Messianic Jews and Messianic Believers (accepted as Christians) and many Christians. It lasts for seven days in Israel and eight days in the Diaspora (outside of Israel). It originated in the Torah or Pentateuch. Pesach refers to the ancient Passover sacrifice known as the Pascal Lamb and that God “passed over” (pasach) the houses of the Israelites during the 10th plague on the Egyptians, the slaying of the first born.  

The festival commemorates the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, where they were oppressed for over 400 years. Pesach or Passover celebrates the story of how Moses led his people out of bondage and towards freedom. 

Its main event today is a Seder, (literally “order”) a festive meal accompanied by the recitation of the Haggadah – a book of Exodus and related writings. As part of the celebration, leavened food (such as bread, pasta, etc.) is forbidden during the duration of this holiday. The reason for this is that the Israelites did not have time to wait for bread to rise before leaving Egypt because they were in a hurry, so they made what is called matzah, an unleavened bread.

How Is Passover Celebrated?

The festival lasts for seven days in Israel and eight days in the Diaspora (outside of Israel) and starts with a seder meal on the first two nights. The seder meal includes traditional foods such as matzah (unleavened bread) and maror (bitter herbs), which symbolize the bitterness of slavery. During this time, families gather to retell the story of Exodus, recite prayers, sing hymns, and enjoy a festive meal together.

Part of the Passover seder includes hiding the afikomen (half of a matzah that is kept between two other matzahs during the seder and later hidden). Children search for the afikomen and usually receive a prize for finding it.

If you would like to wish your Jewish or Messianic friends during this time, say Chag (hog) Sameach (sa may ah), which means Happy Holidays. You can also say Chag (hog) Pesach (pay sock) Sameach (sa may ah) which means Happy Passover Holiday. In Hebrew it would be “Chag Pesach kasher vesame’ach” or Chag kasher vesame’che”.

Chag Pesach Sameach everyone!

Read more by Dr. Patricia Duke Langston here.