Return to the Guide to Passover for Interfaith Families
Just like Easter, Passover is not anchored to specific dates, which means people must find out when it starts and when it is over. Passover 2021 starts at sundown on March 27 and is ends on Saturday night, April 3 or Sunday, April 4 depending on family tradition. The first Passover seder occurs on the evening of March 27, and the second Passover seder occurs on the evening of March 28. (See below for details on future Passover dates and times).
Passover, like all Jewish holidays, starts and ends at sundown, and is tied to the phases of the sun and the moon. Passover always falls on the same date on the Jewish calendar. Like all Jewish holidays, Passover occurs at different times each year on the secular calendar. The Jewish calendar is set up to keep Jewish holidays at the same season of the year and the same phase of the moon; Passover will always begin on a full moon in the spring.
Passover falls in the spring, and is a time for thoughtful celebration. This holiday is considered one of the most anticipated Jewish holidays due to its significant meaning. Passover commemorates the Jewish people’s exodus from Egypt. The book of Exodus in the Old Testament describes Passover as a time that celebrates the Jews’ freedom from the brutality they suffered in Egypt.
Passover also represents a time for hope and rebirth in the spring. During the seder, we recite various blessings including prior to serving symbolic foods. The Passover meal that is chosen is often based on family history, passed down from generation to generation. This practice can be meaningful and is referred to as ‘Mesorah.’ But creating new traditions with foods that reflect everyone at the table is a wonderful way to make the meal more inclusive.
The most common Jewish food served on Passover is matzah, which is unleavened bread. You can find matzah at your local store or better yet, make your own. Other traditional Passover foods include gefilte fish, tzimmis, as well as desserts such as sponge cake and macaroons.
Learning the correct Passover greetings is very useful for those who have never celebrated the holiday. You can always say “Happy Passover” or “Happy Holiday.”
If you want to try greeting other individuals in Hebrew at a Passover dinner, then you might want to use “Chag Same’ach” which means “happy holiday.” Another form of greeting for Passover is “Gut Yontif” which is a more Yiddish term for “wishing you a good holiday.” However, the most common Passover greeting is “Chag Pesach Same’ach” since “Pesach” is the Hebrew term for Passover.
Usually, when Jewish people speak of something being on Jewish time, they are joking and they mean it’s going to be late. But there is also a Jewish time–a sense of months and even of days–that is part of Jewish religion and spirituality.
In many Reform Jewish communities, Passover is celebrated for seven days, not eight. In more traditional Jewish communities–including both Orthodox and Conservative communities–Passover is celebrated for eight days.
Here are the dates of Passover 2021-2024: starting and ending at sundown:
The Guide to Passover for Interfaith Families is also available in PDF