When is Passover 2024? All about the Jewish holiday, where to celebrate in Greater Cincinnati

Passover, the most observed holiday in the Jewish faith, is right around the corner.

You might be wondering why and how Passover is celebrated.

Called Pesach in Hebrew, the celebration of the holiday lasts a week, and it has close ties to the Biblical character Moses, who was responsible for leading the Jewish people out of captivity in Egypt. The holiday carries a message of freedom and liberation.

But there is a lot more to the story.

When is Passover this year?

Passover 2024 will begin at sundown on Monday, April 22 and ends at sundown on April 30 in the United States. The first Passover Seder meal will be on April 22 after nightfall, and the second Seder will be on April 23 after nightfall.

How long does Passover last?

Passover happens every year, typically during March or April. In Israel, it lasts seven days; everywhere else, it's eight days, according to Chabad.org.

Is Passover late in 2024?

Last year, Passover began at sundown Wednesday, on April 5 and ended at sundown Thursday, April 13. Why the big difference? The date for Passover is based on the Hebrew lunar calendar. It always falls on the 15th day of the month of Nissan, which is when the first full moon after the spring equinox occurs.

What is Passover?

Passover is a holiday in the Jewish faith celebrating the ancient Hebrews' exodus from slavery out of Egypt. For decades, the Jewish people had been slaves of the Egyptian pharaohs until Moses led them out of captivity, according to Chabad.org.

The Old Testament of the Bible states that it was God that sent Moses to Israel to lead the Hebrews out of captivity.

In the Bible, Moses visited Pharaoh several times while the Jewish people were in captivity, telling him, "let my people go." Moses warned Pharaoh that Egypt would feel God's wrath if he ignored the warnings. But Pharaoh ignored them anyway.

The Bible states that as a result, God unleashed 10 plagues against Egypt and its people. According to American Jewish World Service, the plagues included:

  • Blood: Bodies of water in Egypt turned to blood.

  • Frogs: Frogs rained from the sky.

  • Lice: An infestation of lice.

  • Wild beasts: Evil creatures that could harm humans and animals.

  • Cattle disease: Disease upon the land's source of meat

  • Boils: A disease.

  • Hail: Ice from the sky.

  • Locusts: An infestation of the insects.

  • Darkness

  • The slaying of the firstborn sons of Egypt: The Bible explains that after ignoring all of Moses' warnings, God killed all the firstborn sons of all the Egyptian families in the land.

While God killed all the Egyptian firstborn sons, he spared all the Jewish people, "passing over" their homes. That's how the holiday got its name, Chabad.org explained.

How is Passover traditionally celebrated?

Jewish people around the globe typically celebrate the Passover by holding a Seder each night of the holiday. A Seder is a meal that recognizes many of the aspects of their time in slavery and exodus out of Egypt.

Matzoh is inspected at a bakery in 2023.
Matzoh is inspected at a bakery in 2023.

Chabad.org writes that a traditional Seder plate includes:

  • Matzoh: A large, flat cracker representing the "unleavened" bread the Hebrews had to eat as they had no time to let the bread rise as they escaped Egypt.

  • Lamb shank: Represents the lamb sacrificed before the exodus from Egypt, according to Chabad.org.

  • Hard-boiled egg: This represents "the pre-holiday offering that was brought in the days of the Holy Temple," Chabad.org states.

  • Bitter herbs: These are on the Seder plate to signify the bitter tears the Hebrews cried while they were enslaved. Usually, horseradish is used as the "bitter herbs" on the traditional Seder plate.

  • Charoset: A paste-like mix of apples, pears, nuts and wine that is on the Seder plate to represent the mortar and brick the Hebrews used during slavery.

  • Parsley: This herb is supposed to signify the hard toiling the Hebrews had to endure under Pharaoh. It is typically dipped in saltwater and then eaten. The saltwater is supposed to represent the tears the Hebrews cried during slavery.

Rabbi Jonathan Hecht, Hebrew Union College dean, speaks with Rabbi Gary Zola Hebrew Union College professor, as they prepare to hand out Seder meals to students to take home for a virtual celebration of Seder on Wednesday, April 8, 2020, at Hebrew Union College in University Heights. Hecht and HUC Rabbi Gary Zola are hosting virtual Seders for students to attend with their prepared meals.

What is one of the most famous historical Passover Seders?

According to The New Testament, Jesus' last supper was a Passover Seder. Jesus was Jewish when he was crucified. After the crucifixion, the Christian religion eventually became more widespread.

Passover events in Greater Cincinnati

Here's a non-comprehensive list of Passover events occurring in Greater Cincinnati.

Isaac M. Wise Temple, Downtown and Amberley

  • April 23: Passover Morning Service; 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the chapel, 8329 Ridge Road, Amberley Village.

  • April 23: Family Passover Seder; 5:30 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. at the Wise Center, 8329 Ridge Road, Amberley Village.

  • April 25: Cincinnati Young Adult Passover Seder Hosted by NextGen@Wise and The Division of Adulting; 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Plum Street Temple, 720 Plum St., Downtown.

  • April 28: Cincinnati Camerata performs “Hallelujah! Psalms of Praise and Passover” at Plum Street Temple; 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Plum Street Temple, 720 Plum St., Downtown.

  • April 29: Passover Yizkor Service; 9:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. at the chapel, 8329 Ridge Road, Amberley Village.

  • April 30: Rockwern’s Passover Camp @ Wise Temple; 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Wise Center, 8329 Ridge Road, Amberley Village.

Rockdale Temple, 8501 Ridge Road, Amberley

  • April 21: RUACH Pre-Pesach Pizza at the Madtree Oakley Taproom, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

  • April 23: Passover Festival Service; 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

  • April 23: Passover Congregational Seder; 6 p.m.

  • April 25: RUACH @ Young Professionals Community Seder; 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

  • April 29: Passover Festival Service Followed by Luncheon; 10:30 a.m. to noon.

Valley Temple, 145 Springfield Pike, Wyoming

  • April 23: Passover Festival Morning Service; 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

  • April 23: Congregational Passover Seder; 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

  • April 29: Passover-Ending Festival Service; 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: How long does Passover last? All about the Jewish holiday