What is Passover and how is it celebrated?


Long ago, the Jewish people were slaves in Egypt. To help the Jews, God told a Jewish man named Moses that he was to lead his people to freedom. God then told Moses what must be done.

Each family was to mark its doorway with the blood of a lamb. The people were to stay in their houses. They were to gather their belongings together and be ready to leave Egypt.

During the night, the Angel of Death visited every Egyptian home. And in each home, the first-born child died. But the Jews were safe. The Angel of Death saw the blood on their doorways and went by, or passed over, their houses. This is how the Jewish feast called Passover got its name.

After this terrible night, the Egyptian king, or pharaoh, let the Jews go. Afraid that the pharaoh might change his mind, the Jews hurried out of Egypt. Leaving Egypt, they became free.

Today, Passover begins with the Seder, which is both a religious service and a feast. The family prays and eats traditional foods. One of these foods is matzah, unleavened bread. Traditionally, after the Seder service, everyone sings happy folk songs.

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