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Last day of Passover in the United Kingdom

In the UK, the Jewish festival of Passover lasts one day longer than in Israel. The last day commemorates the Parting of the Red Sea and the Israelites' escape from Egypt.

Passover Seder
During Passover, Jewish people gather for traditional feasts called Seders.
©iStockphoto.com/pushlama

The Last Day of Passover in the Jewish Calendar

Passover begins on the 15th day of Nisan, the first month of the Jewish calendar. While initially a 7-day feast, Passover traditionally lasts for 8 days outside of Israel, so the final day in the UK falls on Nisan 22, instead of Nisan 21. This corresponds to a date in March, April, or May in the Gregorian calendar.

Is the Last Day of Passover a Public Holiday?

No, there are no bank holidays in the UK associated with the Passover period.

The Last Day of Passover in the UK

The 8th day of Passover, referred to as Acharon Shel Pesach in Hebrew, is usually only celebrated in Jewish communities outside of Israel. It acts as an extension of the 7th day of Passover as it is celebrated in Israel, so in principle, the same rules apply and the same customs are observed as on the 7th day—although perhaps rather less stringently. Both days are considered days of rest.

Some Jewish people may stay awake in the night leading up to the final day of Passover to read the Torah and engage in religious contemplation. The day itself usually begins with a reading of the passage of the Torah recounting the escape of the Israelites from captivity in Egypt.

The last day of Passover is also an occasion to perform Yitzkor. These are memorial prayers dedicated to deceased relatives.

Matzo Balls and Matzo Brei

During Passover, Jews are not allowed to eat, drink, or own chametz (or chometz)—food made from grain (barley, oats, rye, spelt, or wheat) and water which has been allowed to rise. Therefore, unleavened flatbread called Matzo or Matzah is a staple food during the holiday period, and great care is taken to prevent the bread from coming into contact with water or other liquids, which may cause any leftover flour to rise.

However, on the 8th day, this rule is usually relaxed, allowing for the preparation of Matzo balls and Matzo brei, both of which combine Matzo with different types of liquids.

Why Is Passover Celebrated?

Passover commemorates the liberation of the Israelites from slavery and their exodus from Egypt, as told in the Hebrew Bible. On the last day of Passover, Jews commemorate the miraculous Parting of the Red Sea, the final part of the escape.

Why Does Passover Last 8 Days in the UK?

In the Jewish diaspora—Jewish communities outside of Israel—an extra day is usually added to religious observances, so Passover lasts 8 instead of 7 days. This custom has its roots in ancient times when the beginning of the months in the Jewish calendar still relied on the sighting of the crescent Moon following a New Moon.

The beginning of a new month was determined by the Sanhedrin, the supreme court of ancient Israel in Jerusalem. Once the date was published, messengers were dispatched to spread the news among Jews living abroad. Since this process took some time, it was decreed that Jews outside of ancient Israel were to observe every holiday for 2 days to make sure that the rules and customs applicable to each holiday were observed on the proper date. This rule is still observed today.

Who Celebrates Passover in the UK?

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 Last day of Passover in other countries

Read more about Last day of Passover.

Last day of Passover Observances

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

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2010TueApr 6Last day of PassoverJewish holiday 
2011TueApr 26Last day of PassoverJewish holiday 
2012SatApr 14Last day of PassoverJewish holiday 
2013TueApr 2Last day of PassoverJewish holiday 
2014TueApr 22Last day of PassoverJewish holiday 
2015SatApr 11Last day of PassoverJewish holiday 
2016SatApr 30Last day of PassoverJewish holiday 
2017TueApr 18Last day of PassoverJewish holiday 
2018SatApr 7Last day of PassoverJewish holiday 
2019SatApr 27Last day of PassoverJewish holiday 
2020ThuApr 16Last day of PassoverJewish holiday 

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