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Pesach or Passover is the festival which commemorates the exodus (departure) of the ancient Israelites from slavery in Egypt. It is a festival of freedom and celebration. Pesach begins on the 15th day of the Jewish month of Nissan and is celebrated for eight days. The holiday also marks the beginning of spring and the harvest season in Israel.

In the Pesach story the Pharaoh of Egypt was asked to let the Jewish people go but he refused. It took 10 plagues to convince him, but in the end he let the People of Israel leave Egypt. He then sent his army after them. God parted the waters of the sea and the Jews walked across to safety. The army of the Pharaoh was drowned.

  • Removing Chametz

    Probably the most significant observance related to Pesach involves the removal of chametz from Jewish homes. This commemorates the fact that the Jews leaving Egypt were in a hurry, and did not have time to let their bread rise. Observant Jews will not eat leavened bread for the duration of the holiday; instead they eat unleavened bread, known as Matzah.

    On the first night of Pesach Jews have a special family meal filled with ritual to remind them of the significance of the holiday. This meal is called a seder which is the Hebrew for  ‘order'. This is because the exodus from Egypt must be discussed in a particular order, which is set out in a special book called the Haggadah.