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When is Passover: Dates, Traditions, and Customs

Passover, also known as Pesach, is one of the most important Jewish holidays. It commemorates the liberation of Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt and their journey to freedom. The holiday lasts for eight days and is celebrated with a variety of traditions and customs. However, determining when Passover occurs can be confusing, especially for those who are not familiar with the Hebrew calendar. In this blog post, we will provide a comprehensive guide to when Passover takes place, explain the traditions and customs associated with the holiday, and give tips on how to celebrate this special occasion.

What is Passover?

The Hebrew Calendar: A Key to Understanding Passover Dates

Passover, also known as Pesach, is a Jewish holiday celebrated annually. One of the most important factors in determining the date of Passover is the Hebrew calendar. This calendar follows a lunar cycle and has been used by Jews for thousands of years.

The Hebrew calendar is based on the cycles of the moon and contains 12 lunar months, each with either 29 or 30 days. In order to keep the calendar in line with the solar year, which is approximately 11 days longer than the lunar year, an additional month is added every two to three years. This is known as a “leap year” and ensures that holidays like Passover occur at the same time of year.

Since Passover is tied to the Hebrew calendar, its dates can vary widely from year to year on the Gregorian calendar. In general, it occurs in late March or early April, but this can shift by a few weeks depending on the Hebrew calendar.

Understanding the Hebrew calendar and how it relates to Passover is important for anyone who wants to celebrate this significant Jewish holiday. By following the lunar cycle and adding leap years at regular intervals, the Hebrew calendar helps ensure that Passover occurs at the appropriate time each year.

When Does Passover Occur?

The Hebrew Calendar

The Hebrew Calendar

The Hebrew calendar, also known as the Jewish calendar, is a lunar-based system that originated with the ancient Hebrews. It has been in use for over 2,000 years and serves as the basis for many Jewish holidays, including Passover.

Unlike the Gregorian calendar which is based on the solar year of 365.24 days, the Hebrew calendar follows the cycles of the moon. Each month begins with the appearance of a new moon and can have either 29 or 30 days. This means that a typical Hebrew year consists of 12 months, totaling either 354 or 355 days.

To ensure that the Hebrew calendar stays synchronized with the solar year, the system includes an extra month called “Adar II” in leap years, which occur seven times in every 19-year cycle. This additional month helps to keep the major holidays aligned with the seasons.

Understanding the Hebrew calendar is critical to determining the dates for Passover, as it uses a unique calculation to determine the holiday’s start date. Additionally, the calendar plays an important role in Jewish culture and traditions, serving as a reminder of the Jewish people’s history and heritage.

Passover Dates

The Hebrew Calendar

The Hebrew calendar is based on both lunar and solar cycles, with a year consisting of 12 lunar months. Each month begins with the sighting of the new moon and lasts approximately 29 or 30 days. However, since the lunar year is only 354 days long, the Hebrew calendar adjusts by adding a leap month seven times every 19 years to keep in sync with the solar year.

The months of the Hebrew calendar are named after their Babylonian counterparts, which were adopted during the Babylonian exile. The first month is Nisan, which typically falls in March-April and is the month in which Passover occurs. Other important months include Tishrei, which marks the beginning of the Jewish year and includes Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and Adar, which contains the holiday of Purim.

Understanding the Hebrew calendar is essential for determining the dates of Jewish holidays, including Passover. It also provides insight into the rich history and culture of the Jewish people.

Leap Year

When we hear the word “Passover,” we may think of a Jewish holiday or an event that occurs in the springtime. However, Passover is much more than that. It is a time for reflection, celebration, and remembrance. In this section, we will delve deeper into the meaning of Passover and its significance.

At its core, Passover is a commemoration of the Jewish people’s escape from slavery in Egypt. The story of Passover is told in the Haggadah, a text read during the Seder meal on the first night of the holiday. This recounting of the Exodus serves as a reminder of the Jewish people’s struggle for freedom and their journey to the Promised Land.

But Passover is not just about looking back at history. It is also about celebrating the present and looking towards the future. The holiday is a time for families to gather, share a meal, and connect with one another. It is a time to express gratitude for our blessings and to renew our commitment to tikkun olam, or repairing the world.

Passover traditions and customs are an integral part of the holiday. From cleaning out chametz (leavened products) from our homes to searching for the afikomen (a piece of matzah), each ritual has a deeper meaning and purpose. These practices help us connect to our heritage and create a sense of unity among Jewish communities around the world.

Overall, Passover is a time to reflect on our past, celebrate our present, and look forward to our future. It is a holiday steeped in tradition and meaning that brings families and communities together. Whether you are observing Passover for the first time or have been doing so for years, there is always something new to learn and discover about this timeless holiday.

Passover Traditions and Customs

Pre-Passover Preparation

Passover: A Celebration of Freedom

Passover is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. The holiday lasts for a week and is celebrated with various customs and traditions.

One of the most significant customs during Passover is the Seder, a special meal that takes place on the first two nights of the holiday. During the Seder, families and friends gather to retell the story of the Exodus and to recite prayers and blessings over ceremonial foods.

The centerpiece of the Seder is the Haggadah, a book that tells the story of the Exodus and provides instructions for the Seder rituals. The Haggadah also includes songs, poems, and commentary that add depth and meaning to the celebration.

Another important aspect of Passover is the requirement to eat only unleavened bread, known as matzah. This symbolizes the haste with which the Israelites left Egypt, without time for their bread to rise. Many households go through extensive preparation to rid their homes of chametz, or leavened products, before the holiday begins.

In addition to its religious significance, Passover holds cultural importance for Jewish communities around the world. Families gather to celebrate their heritage and to pass down traditions from generation to generation.

Passover serves as a reminder of the power of collective action and the potential for freedom in the face of oppression. It is a holiday that celebrates the resilience and spirit of the Jewish people and continues to inspire hope and perseverance today.

Seder Night

What is Passover?

Passover, also known as Pesach, is a major Jewish holiday that celebrates the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. The holiday lasts for eight days and is observed annually in the spring. The name “Passover” comes from the biblical story of the ten plagues God inflicted on Egypt, culminating in the “passing over” of the Israelites’ homes during the final plague.

During Passover, Jews around the world gather with family and friends to retell the story of the exodus from Egypt through a ritualistic meal called the Seder. The Seder involves the reading of the Haggadah, a book that recounts the story of the Israelites’ journey to freedom, along with traditional foods such as matzah (unleavened bread), maror (bitter herbs), and charoset (a sweet paste made from fruits and nuts).

Passover is a time of reflection, gratitude, and joy for the Jewish community. It is also an opportunity to reconnect with family and friends, and to celebrate the many freedoms and blessings we enjoy in our daily lives. Whether you are Jewish or not, Passover offers valuable insights into the power of faith, the importance of tradition, and the resilience of the human spirit.

Passover Food

The Hebrew Calendar

The Hebrew calendar is a lunar-based calendar that is used to determine the dates of Jewish holidays, including Passover. The calendar consists of 12 months, with each month beginning at the start of a new moon. However, because the lunar year is approximately 11 days shorter than the solar year, the Hebrew calendar includes a leap month (Adar II) in seven out of every 19 years to ensure that the holidays fall during their appropriate seasons.

The Hebrew calendar also has a unique system for counting days and weeks. The days begin at sunset and end at the following sunset, and the weeks are counted from Shabbat to Shabbat, with each day of the week having a special significance.

Understanding the Hebrew calendar is essential to determining the timing of Passover, as the holiday must begin on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Nissan. By following this lunar-based calendar and its intricate system for counting days and weeks, Jews around the world are able to celebrate Passover together in unity and tradition.

Passover Celebration

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The Hebrew Calendar: The Foundation of Jewish Festivals

The Hebrew calendar is a unique and complex system that has been used by Jews for centuries to determine the dates of important festivals and events. It is based on both lunar cycles and solar seasons, which makes it different from the Gregorian calendar that the majority of the world uses.

One of the most significant characteristics of the Hebrew calendar is that it is a lunisolar calendar. This means that it takes into account both the phases of the moon and the position of the sun relative to Earth. As a result, the calendar year is composed of either 12 or 13 months, each of which starts with a new moon.

The Jewish months are named after Babylonian gods and goddesses, as the Jews were in exile there during the time when they adopted this calendar. Some examples include Tishrei, the month of the High Holidays, and Nissan, the month of Passover.

In addition to being used for religious purposes, the Hebrew calendar was also historically used for agricultural purposes. Each of its 12 or 13 months was associated with a specific harvest or farming activity, such as planting or pruning.

Understanding the Hebrew calendar is essential for Jews to be able to observe their festivals and holidays correctly. For example, Passover must always fall on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Nissan, which corresponds to the first full moon after the spring equinox.

Overall, the Hebrew calendar is a fascinating system that has played a crucial role in Jewish culture and history. Its complexities and nuances make it an interesting subject of study for anyone curious about the intersection of religion, culture, and timekeeping.


Passover is a significant Jewish holiday that commemorates the liberation of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery. It is celebrated with various traditions and customs, including the Seder night, eating matzah, and refraining from chametz. Understanding the Hebrew calendar and how it relates to Passover dates can help in preparing for this special holiday.

While Passover has important religious and historical significance, it also serves as a reminder of the importance of freedom and the fight against oppression. The themes of Passover are universal and can be applied to our daily lives. We can use this time to reflect on our own personal journeys and the obstacles we have overcome.

As we prepare for Passover, let us remember its true meaning and significance. May it bring us hope, inspiration, and renewed dedication to our values and beliefs. Chag Pesach Sameach!

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