This takes place around March / April time, and celebrates the Israelites fleeing their enslavement under the Pharaoh in Egypt.The Festival lasts for eight days and during that time no ‘Leavened’ food may be consumed (including bread, cereals, whisky, beer).
Some Jews who come from the Middle East, Spain, North Africa, known as Sephardi Jews, will eat rice and pulses, but European Jews will not. The reason for not eating leavened food is to recall the Israelites having to leave Egypt in a hurry and not having time to prepare proper food for themselves – their bread did not rise in time, and so was considered ‘unleavened’ and tasted more like crackers.This is symbolised each Passover by eating Matzo – Unleavened Bread.
On the first two nights, a service known as a Seder (order) is held at home – this tells the story of the Passover and the Jewish Exodus from Egypt, chronicled in a book called the Haggadah.The service is traditionally a relaxed affair – it is customary for those attending to lean to their left to show that they are no longer
bound by the restrictions of slavery imposed by the Pharaoh of Egypt. Four cups of wine are also drunk during the service, and a celebratory meal is eaten.
After the first two days, a four day period follows when some normal work activities may be resumed, although leavened food is still forbidden.The final two days of the festival, like the first, are Yom Yomim Tovim.The festival finishes at nightfall on the eighth day.
A great deal of preparation is required for Passover as not only are Jews not allowed to eat leavened food (known as Chametz), they are not allowed to own it either, and must clear out their houses of it before the festival begins. These days, people will get a Rabbi to sell on their Chametz for a token sum of money to a non Jew, which can be redeemed after the festival is over. It is also obligatory to use different crockery, cutlery and cookware, which has not been used to cook foods containing Chametz, for the duration of the festival.