Monday, April 14, 2014

Today's Holy-day Art (PASSOVER) for Jews

"Passover" by Raphael Abecassis
Passover (Pesach) is a Jewish holiday and festival. It commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt. (First posted Monday, March 25, 2013)
  • Significance: The Israelites were instructed to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a spring lamb and, upon seeing this, the spirit of the Lord passed over these homes, an easy way to remember the holiday. This story is told in Exodus, 1-15. It is the first of the three major festivals with both historical and agricultural significance (the other two are Shavu'ot and Sukkot).
  • Observances: Pesach involves avoiding chametz (leaven; sounds like "hum it's" with that Scottish "ch") throughout the holiday. This commemorates the fact that the Jews leaving Egypt were in a hurry, and did not have time to let their bread rise.
  • Length: Pesach lasts for eight days (seven days in Israel).
  • Date: Pesach begins on the 15th day of the Jewish month of Nissan.
  • Customs: It is traditional for Jewish families to gather on the first night of Passover (first two nights in communities outside the land of Israel) for a special dinner called a seder. The table is set with the finest china and silverware to reflect the importance of the meal. During this meal, the story of the Exodus from Egypt is retold using a special text called the Haggadah.
  • Greeting: Happy Passover
  • Interfaith Link: The Christian feast of Maundy Thursday (Last Supper) has its roots in the Jewish feast of Passover even though they usually do not fall on the same day because the faiths use different calendars.