Passover is here. What to know about the holiday, and events in Charlotte to celebrate

Wednesday evening marks the beginning of Passover, a Jewish holiday that brings together families and communities in North Carolina and around the world.

It’s an important holiday in the Jewish faith, and one of the most celebrated: more than 70% of Jewish Americans participate in some part of Passover, Religion News Service reported.

Whether you’re Jewish or just looking to honor and learn more about an important time of year for some of your family, friends or colleagues, there are things you can do in the Charlotte area to mark the occasion.

Here’s what to know about Passover and how to celebrate the holiday in Charlotte:

What is Passover?

Passover, also known as Pesach, is a multi-day holiday commemorating the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt.

“The main observances of this holiday center around a special home service called the seder, which includes a festive meal, the prohibition on eating chametz, and the eating of matzah,” the Union for Reform Judaism says.

Seders typically are held on the first or second night of Passover and have “15 separate steps in its traditional order,” which are written out in a religious text called the Haggadah.

Seder plates typically have “various symbolic foods referred to in the seder itself,” such as shankbone, roasted egg and bitter herbs.

How long is Passover?

Passover lasts seven to eight days, “depending on family and communal custom,” according to the Union for Reform Judaism.

In 2023, the holiday runs from the evening of April 5 to the evening of April 13.

Passover greetings

There are a few sayings you can use to wish someone a happy Passover.

“Chag Pesach sameach,” which means “Happy Passover,” or “Chag sameach,” which means “Happy holiday,” are two of the most common greetings to use.

“Chag kasher v’sameach,” which means “Happy and kosher holiday,” is another appropriate greeting.

Is there fasting on Passover?

Fasting is not a part of Passover, but the Fast of the First Born, also known as Ta’anit Bechorot or Ta’anit Bechorim, typically falls on the eve of Passover.

The fast, according to Jewish Learning, is only observed by the first-born males in a family and “commemorates the miracle which spared the first-born sons of Israel from the plague that killed the first-born sons of the Egyptians.”

Additionally, the Union for Reform Judaism says, Passover also does involve abstaining from chametz: “leavened bread or any food that contains wheat, rye, barley, oats, or spelt, unless production has been supervised to ensure that it has not leavened.”

Matzah, an unleavened bread, is served at seders to symbolize “the hurried departure of the Israelites from Egypt.”

Passover events in Charlotte

Jewish community groups and synagogues are hosting Passover events, including:

Multiple Charlotte-area restaurants and catering companies also offer Passover meals.