When is Passover 2021? Dates and start time for Jewish holiday of Pesach

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THE Jewish festival of Passover begins on Saturday, March 27 2021  - and it's one of the most sacred holidays in Judaism.

Many families will enjoy a special dinner called Seder on the first evening as the story of Israelites' liberation from slavery is retold.

 Unleavened bread or matzo is eaten at Passover along with wine

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Unleavened bread or matzo is eaten at Passover along with wineCredit: Getty - Contributor

When is Passover 2021?

Passover is celebrated each spring, and like the Christian festival of Easter the holiday varies from year to year.

It takes place on the 15th of the Hebrew month of Nisan.

The date is calculated by the first full Moon, known as the Pesach Moon after the vernal equinox.

This year’s Passover began at sundown on Saturday, March 27, 2021.

Passover will end at sundown on Sunday, April 4.

Traditionally Passover is eight days long, although some Jewish reform groups celebrate it for seven days.

What is Pesach?

Pesach is the Hebrew word for Passover which celebrates the liberation of Jews from Egypt, known as the Exodus.

The Jewish holiday gets its name from when God told Moses to instruct Israelites to mark their doorposts with lamb’s blood so God would ‘’pass over’’ their homes and let their firstborn sons live.

 Passover celebrates the liberation of Jews from Egypt, known as the Exodus.

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Passover celebrates the liberation of Jews from Egypt, known as the Exodus.Credit: Alamy

What’s the history behind Passover?

According to the Torah, the Jewish settlement in ancient Egypt first occurs when Joseph, founder of one of the 12 tribes of Israel, moves his family there during a severe famine in their homeland of Canaan.

When Joseph and his brothers pass away, a particularly hostile pharaoh orders their enslavement and the systematic drowning of their firstborn sons in the Nile.

One of these doomed infants is rescued by the pharaoh’s daughter, given the name Moses (meaning “one who is pulled out”) and adopted into the Egyptian royal family.

When he reaches adulthood, Moses becomes aware of his true identity and the Egyptians’ brutal treatment of his fellow Hebrews.

He kills an Egyptian slave master and escapes to the Sinai Peninsula, where he lives as a humble shepherd for 40 years.

 Jewish men in plastic aprons roll out non-leavened bread, or Matza, as they prepare for Passover

Jewish men in plastic aprons roll out non-leavened bread, or Matza, as they prepare for PassoverCredit: Reuters

One day, however, Moses receives a command from God to return to Egypt and free his kin from bondage, according to the Hebrew bible.

Along with his brother Aaron, Moses approaches the reigning pharaoh (who is unnamed in the biblical version of the story) several times, explaining that the Hebrew God has requested a three-day leave for his people so that they may celebrate a feast in the wilderness.

When the pharaoh refuses, God unleashes 10 plagues on the Egyptians, including turning the Nile River red with blood and unleashing a plague of locusts.

What does the Seder involve?

Seder customs include telling the story, discussing the story, drinking four cups of wine, eating matza, partaking of symbolic foods placed on the Passover Seder plate, and reclining in celebration of freedom.

The Seder is the most commonly celebrated Jewish ritual, performed by Jews all over the world.

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When is the second Passover?

The second Passover is from Sunday April 25 to Monday April 26.

The second Passover provides an opportunity for those who were unable to participate in the first Passover celebration.

It is known as Pesach Sheni.

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