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Passover Seder History

Traditional foods play a big part in the Passover celebration


Passover (Pesach in Hebrew) begins on the eve of the fifteenth day of the month of Nisan according to the Jewish lunar calendar. The date varies from year to year according to the English calendar, falling in March or April. The festival lasts for eight days, incorporating the rich tradition of the Seder family meal on the first two nights. (Note: You may see some of these Hebrew terms spelled in different ways, since translation to English is a subjective, phonetical matter.)

Passover Seder History

Passover celebrates the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. During the Seder (meaning order in Hebrew) banquet, the Haggadah is read which reenacts the journey. Food is a very important part of the celebration, with different foods representing historical events.

During the Passover week, only unleavened bread or matzoh is permissible. The bar against leavened (chametz in Hebrew) foods applies only to these five types of grain: barley, wheat, rye, oats, and spelt. Although wine is fermented, it is permitted, since it is not derived from any of these five types of grains. Food items made from these grains may be eaten only if they are cooked before the leavening process begins, a matter of time deemed to be some eighteen minutes from the time they are mixed with water.

Commercial foods which are kosher for Passover will have a (P) or (U)Kosher for Passover incorporated into their labeling, which indicates the product has been certified by a rabbi or organization authorized to give the Passover endorsement.

Further Passover References:

Traditional Passover Seder Foods
Passover Recipes


Jewish Cooking in America
The New York Times Passover Cookbook
The Complete Passover Cookbook
Passover Lite Kosher Cookbook
More Cookbooks
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