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Passover

March 18, 2013
Blue star of David Passover and Pesach greeting ca

Passover greeting card by Ananya

Blue star of David greeting card for Passover and Pesach

Passover greeting card by Ananya

Passover : A Celebration of Freedom – 25th March to 2nd April

Passover, also called Pesach is one of the most widely celebrated Jewish festivals, commemorating the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt.

The story of the Exodus tells how God helped the Israelites escape slavery in Egypt by inflicting ten plagues upon the Egyptians before the Pharaoh would release his Israelite slaves. The 10th plague was the death of the Egyptian first-born. The Israelites were told to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a spring lamb and that would be the sign for God to ‘pass over’ the first-borns in these Jewish homes.

The freed Israelites left in such a hurry that they could not wait for bread dough to rise (leaven). To commemorate this, no leavened bread is eaten during Passover. This is why Passover is also called “The Festival of the Unleavened Bread”, and ‘matzo’, an unleavened flatbread made solely from flour and water is eaten during the festival.

Special Service

On the evening before Passover begins, a special service called a ‘seder’ takes place over a meal with family and friends in the home.

The ‘seder’ plate consists of:

  • A lamb bone
  • A roasted egg
  • A green vegetable to dip in salt water
  • Bitter herbs made from horseradish
  • ‘Charoset’ (a paste of chopped apples, walnuts and wine)

On the table, there are three ‘matzos’ (unleavened bread) on top of each other. At the start of the ‘seder’, the middle ‘matzo’ is broken and the largest piece is hidden. Children look for this hidden piece, and the one who finds it gets a small prize.

Four glasses of wine are drunk to represent the four expressions of freedom from slavery. An extra cup of wine is placed on the table and the door is left open for prophet Elijah who the Jews believe will reappear at Passover to announce the coming of the Messiah.

Innovative Desserts

We’ve found some desserts not usually associated with Passover – people love experimenting with new, tempting ways to make Passover dessert!

Chocolate cupcake with raspberry frosting

Chocolate cupcake with raspberry frosting

Saffron cake with lemon-fig compote

Saffron cake with lemon-fig compote

Matzo chocolate-mint ice cream cake

Matzo chocolate-mint ice cream cake

Here’s one we found that matches our Passover cards.

Star chocolate cupcake

blue star Passover and Pesach greeting card

Passover greeting card by Ananya

Reciting the Story

During the meal, the story of the exodus from Egypt is read aloud from a special text called the ‘Haggadah’, and rituals that correspond to aspects of the story are performed. Everyone takes part in reading the ‘Haggadah’. Children play an important role in the ‘seder’ and the youngest child recites four questions from the book which ask what distinguishes this special night from all other nights, and the father answers the questions.

The story of Passover has a positive and inspiring message; that one can find freedom from bondage, and that the future can be better than the present.

Our Passover cards set the right tone for this significant festival, celebrated by Jews all over the world. Remember to send cards to your near and dear ones this Passover.

The team at Ananya wish all our Jewish friends and colleagues a very Happy Passover!

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