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First day of Passover in the United Kingdom

During Passover, Jewish people in the UK commemorate the liberation of the Israelites from slavery and their exodus from Egypt.

Unleavened flatbread (Matzo) and wine.
Matzo, a type of unleavened flatbread, forms part of the traditional diet during Passover.
©iStockphoto.com/Stella Levi

Passover in the Jewish Calendar

Passover begins on the 15th day of Nisan, the first month of the Jewish calendar. The date falls into March or April in the Gregorian calendar.

While the Passover period lasts for 7 days in Israel, Jewish people in other countries usually observe 8 days of Passover.

Is the First Day of Passover a Public Holiday?

The first day of Passover is not a bank holiday in the UK. However, some Jewish businesses and organizations may be closed or offer a reduced level of service during the Passover period.

How Is Passover Celebrated in the UK?

Like in Jewish communities around the world, the celebration of Passover in the UK traditionally involves a number of rituals, each of which symbolizes a different aspect of the events leading to the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, as described in the Hebrew Bible.

During Passover, followers of the Jewish faith are forbidden to eat, drink, or own chametz or (chometz)—food that is made from grain (barley, oats, rye, spelt, or wheat) and water and has been allowed to rise. To avoid coming in contact with chametz, people thoroughly clean their homes and living spaces. Objects that cannot be cleaned or destroyed before the start of Passover are usually stored away or temporarily sold to someone who is not Jewish. They are then purchased back after the end of Passover.

Another ritual that is central to the observance of Passover is the seder, a ceremonial meal with family and friends, that is usually held on the first 2 days of Passover. The meal is composed of specific ingredients, which are consumed in a prescribed order, and accompanied by readings from the Haggadah, a book that details the story of the Jewish exodus from Egypt in 14 parts. During the seder, the youngest child of the family is tasked with asking four prescribed questions, which the father answers.

Some Jewish communities in the UK, such as in London and Manchester, organize communal seders. These are held in community halls, synagogues, private homes, or hotels. On or around the first day of Passover, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom traditionally releases a Passover message.

Why Is Passover Celebrated?

Passover commemorates the liberation of the Israelites from slavery and their exodus from Egypt, as told in the Hebrew Bible.

Who Celebrates Passover in the UK?

Passover is generally celebrated by Jewish people. The United Kingdom is estimated to have the 5th largest Jewish population in the world, with just under 300,000 people practicing the Jewish faith in the country. By far the largest British Jewish community is found in London, followed by those in Manchester and Leeds.

History of Jews in the UK

Jewish settlement in England can be traced as far back as the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066. The Jewish community outnumbered the Spanish and Portuguese communities in England by the 18th century.

Many Jewish families in Eastern Europe moved to England to escape persecution and hardship between 1881 and 1914. About 150,000 Jewish people settled in England, with large numbers staying at London's East End during that time. England continued to receive Jewish immigrants escaping persecution around the time of World War II (1939-1945).

About First day of Passover in other countries

Read more about First day of Passover.

First day of Passover Observances

Note: Jewish holidays begin at sundown the day before the date specified for the holiday.

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2010TueMar 30First day of PassoverJewish holiday 
2011TueApr 19First day of PassoverJewish holiday 
2012SatApr 7First day of PassoverJewish holiday 
2013TueMar 26First day of PassoverJewish holiday 
2014TueApr 15First day of PassoverJewish holiday 
2015SatApr 4First day of PassoverJewish holiday 
2016SatApr 23First day of PassoverJewish holiday 
2017TueApr 11First day of PassoverJewish holiday 
2018SatMar 31First day of PassoverJewish holiday 
2019SatApr 20First day of PassoverJewish holiday 
2020ThuApr 9First day of PassoverJewish holiday 

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