1st March 2020

Passover

Passover celebrates the escape of the Israelites from slavery in Ancient Egypt. Passover takes place over 5 days, with the first night of Passover being celebrated with families eating a special meal.

The story behind Passover

A new Pharaoh notices that the number of Israelites in Egypt are growing and captures them. He uses them as his slaves. The Pharaoh orders that all Israelite sons must be sent out into the Nile at birth.

One boy called Moses isn’t sent out into the Nile as a baby. Instead, he grows up with the Pharaoh. When he kills an Egyptian slave driver as an adult, he runs away from Egypt. 40 years later, God appears in front of Moses as a burning bush. God sends him to free the Israelites. He says to the Pharaoh:

Let My people go!

Exodus 5:1

The Pharaoh doesn’t let them go. God sends 10 plagues to the Egyptians. The last plague, where all first-born humans and animals are killed, persuades the Pharaoh to let the Israelites go. The Israelites celebrated the first-ever Passover and then set off into the wilderness.

But the Pharaoh changes his mind and sends his army to capture them. God saves the Israelites by allowing them to cross the Red Sea before using the Red Sea to wash away the Pharaoh and his army.

Celebrations

Passover Seder

On the first night of Passover, families get together to eat a special meal called “seder”, which is Hebrew for “order”. The family eats with the best plates and cutlery they have. During the meal, the story of the Israelites being freed from slavery is told.

A table laid out for Passover Seder | By datafox – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikipedia

The meal has many questions, answers and unusual practices. When children ask questions about the Exodus and what happened after it, they get given sweets and nuts as a reward.

Passover Sacrifice

In ancient times, the main focus of Passover was the sacrifice of a lamb. Only those who had not broken the law could take part, and they couldn’t have food on them whilst the lamb was being killed. The killing was usually done by priests, although it could be done by almost anyone, even if you weren’t necessarily trained in killing animals.