Passover: How it is Celebrated and the Passover Calendar

Last updated on November 16th, 2020

The festival of Passover which runs for 8 days is celebrated in the early spring, from the 15th through the 22nd of the Hebrew month of Nissan or from April 23 to April 30 in the Gregorian calendar. The preparation starts on the 13 Nissan or 21st of April and even the day after the Passover or the 23 Nissan and 1st of May has some special considerations for these days.  The emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt is being commemorated. Through the Passover or Pesach, we are able to relive the freedom that our ancestors achieved.

For the duration of Passover, leavened bread is not allowed to be eaten.  Hence the Passover is also known as the feast of the unleavened bread in the Old Testament.  Matzo or unleavened bread is eaten during this holiday.

The Passover Calendar

13 Nissan

On this day, Chametz or leavened bread or food products made of such are being removed or sold.  A blessing is being recited prior to the act of searching and the nullification of chametz or the Kol Chamira is done following the search.  You can relive the search for Chametz on this game.

14 Nissan

This is the day before the Passover which is also known as the fast of the first born.  A male firstborn can be exempted from fasting if he participated in a meal marking of a mitzvah.  Mitzvah is a meal held in a synagogue after the prayers in the morning.

After the Minchah prayer in the afternoon, the order of the Passover offering is recited.  Seder items and other food for the holiday should be prepared before the onset of the holiday and Shabbat.

Blessing 3 and 4 us recited during the lighting of the Passover candles.  Complete Hallel is being recited during the evening services or Maariv while on the other hand, Shalom Aleichem is quietly recited.

First Seder

The Seder contains the observance of biblical and rabbinical mitzvoth which includes eating matzah and maror or bitter herbs, drinking four cups of wine, storytelling to the children about the Exodus and reclining to symbolize freedom.  You can make everyone enjoy Passover Seder through these Seder set.

Based on Exodus 12:42, the first night of the Passover is the night of guarding.  It is the first night of Passover which is called leil shimurim.

15 Nissan

1st day of Passover

The morning service calls for recitation of full Hallel, two Torah scrolls are taken out of the ark and Torah reading of Exodus 12:21–51 and Numbers 28:16–25 is done followed by the reading of Haftorah or Joshua 3:5–7, 5:2–6:1, 6:27.

Morid hatal, the prayer for dew is recited as the beginning of Musaf Amidah.  This continues until the day after Sukkot which is also known as Shemini Atzeret.

The priest blesses the congregation with a blessing while all are in a Musaf prayer. A festive lunch is held after.  You can have more festive Passover meal ideas by checking out this Passover menu book.

During Maariv evening prayers, complete Hallel is recited to be followed by the counting of Omer.  The counting of the Omer is recited for 49 days up to the holiday of Shavuot which is the 50th day.  The 49 days signifies the 49 steps to self-improvement.  This is a re-enactment of the departure from Egypt to the arrival at Mount Sinai.  Departure from Egypt symbolizes leaving our old self until we accept the wisdom of Torah.

The candles are lighted after dark during the second day of Passover.  An existing flame is used while reciting blessings 2 and 4.

Second Seder

Same ritual as the first Seder, Havdalah is added into the Kiddush prayer.  Holiday candles are seen as blessing on fire but the blessing is not recited on spices.  Check out this charming Seder set to entertain your guests.

16 Nissan

2nd day of Passover

Full Hallel is recited in the morning service then two Torah scrolls are removed from the ark.  The Torah reading is as follows: Leviticus 22:26–23:44 and Numbers 28:16–25 while the Haftorah reading is: II Kings 23:1–9, 21–25.  During the Musaf prayer, the priest blesses the congregation.  This is followed by a festive lunch.  The 2nd day of Omer comes after nightfall.

Regular workday activities are resumed between the 2nd day of Passover up to the last two days of Passover.  Kosher is eaten exclusively as the Passover food followed by a glass of wine each day as a celebration of this festival. You can label each Kosher with these Passover labels.  Havdalah ceremony is performed after the evening prayers.

17 Nissan

3rd day of Passover

The third day of Passover marks the 1st day of Chol Hamoed.  During the morning service tefillin are not worn.

Half-Hallel is recited and two Torah scrolls are taken out of the ark. The Torah reading is as follows Exodus 13:1-16 and Numbers 28:19–25. The Musaf Amidah is recited and Yaalah Veyavo is mentioned during all prayers and even in grace after meals.  In these intermediate days there are limited restrictions at work.  The 3rd day of Omer starts after nightfall.

18 Nissan

4th day of Passover

This is the 2nd day of Chol Hamoed.  The ritual is same as yesterday, the only difference is the Torah reading is Exodus 22:24–23:19 and Numbers 28:19–25.  When the night is finished, the 4th day of Omer starts.

19 Nissan

5th day of Passover

3rd day of Chol Hamoed is the 5th day of Passover.  The same ritual is done, the only difference is the Torah reading of Exodus 34:1-26 and Numbers 28:19–25 and Haftorah: Ezekiel 37:1-14.  After nightfall, count the 5th day of the Omer.

20 Nissan

6th day of Passover

The 6th day of Passover is Chol Hamoed’s 4th day.  The ritual is still the same as before, the only difference is that Half-Hallel is recited and the Torah reading is Numbers 9:1-14 and Numbers 28:19–25.  Also, there is recitation of Musaf Amidah.

In addition, eruv tavshilin is prepared.  Candles are lighted for the Passover’s 7th day and blessing is recited.  Evening prayers is done and when Amidah is finished, the 6th day of Omer comes.  Holiday meal with Shabbat Kiddush is enjoyed after.  Check out this Passover care gift package that would suit the family.  Most communities remain awake and study Torah to commemorate the miracle of the splitting sea.  This is believed to have occurred on the 7th day of Passover.

21 Nissan

7th day of Passover or the Shevi’i Shel Pesach

In the morning service, Half-Hallel is recited and  two Torah scrolls are taken out.  The Torah reading is as follows Exodus 13:17–15:26 and Numbers 28:19–25 while the Haftorah is II Samuel 22:1–51.

During the Musaf prayer, the priest blesses the congregation which is followed by a scrumptious and festive lunch.  Evening prayers is done then after the Amidah, the 7th day of Omer comes.  Candles are lighted for the Passover’s 8th day before sunset by using an existing flame while blessing 3 is recited.

Kiddush is served to complete the festive meal.  Check out this Kiddush book which is packed with all the information on Passover.  Serve your Kiddush in these stylish cups.

22 Nissan

Shabbat is the final Day of Passover which is also known as Acharon Shel Pesach.  In the morning service, Half-Hallel is recited and two Torah scrolls are taken out of the ark.  The Torah reading is Deuteronomy 14:22-16:17 and Numbers 28:19–25 while the Haftorah reading is Isaiah 10:32–12:6.  After the Torah reading, Yizkor is recited.  During the Musaf prayer, the priest blesses the congregation.  This is then followed by a festive lunch.

The highest level of freedom is achieved on this final day of Passover.  The Passover is ended with a feast of Moshiach which is a complete meal with four cups of wine and matzah.  In this celebration, the arrival of the Messiah is celebrated.  It begins before sunset and lasts until nightfall.  The evening prayers are done and when Amidah ends, it marks the 8th day of Omer.  Havdalah ceremony is performed after night fall.  The official end of the Passover is nightfall.  The chametz would be bought by the rabbi again before eating it.

23 Nissan

Isru Chag is the day after the Shabbat.  Fasting is forbidden on this day.

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About the Author

Kit K

Kit Kalagayan is a content writer for many blogs and websites. He runs Gift Canyon and does most of the content and administrative work.

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