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Passover (first day) 2024 in the United States

Every spring, families gather to recite the biblical story of the Jewish exodus from Egypt during a traditional Passover feast.

Passover seders celebrate liberation from slavery.


Is Passover a Public Holiday?

While this is not a public holiday in the United States, some Jewish-run organizations are closed for the week of Passover.

When Is Passover?

Passover starts on the fifteenth day of the month of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar, which usually falls in March or April in the Gregorian calendar. The holiday observance lasts for seven days.

Recalling the Exodus

Jewish people often come together on the first night of Passover, or Pesach in Hebrew, to tell the story of the liberation of their ancestors from bondage in Egypt, as written in the Torah. This is one of the most important annual events in Judaism, and even many non-religious people celebrate Pesach with family and friends.

Passover also marks the arrival of spring, falling on the first Full Moon after the vernal equinox.

Unleavened Bread

During the seven days of the holiday, any foods made with rising products such as yeast are forbidden in Jewish homes, so a flat cracker called matzo (matzah) replaces leavened bread.

This dry, crunchy flatbread serves as a reminder of the story of the Jewish flight from Egypt.

According to the Torah´s Book of Exodus, the Pharaoh agreed to let the tribes of Israel leave their bondage in the country, but only gave them a few hours to gather their things and flee. So the Jews didn't have time to allow their bread to rise, and were forced to take unleavened matzo with them on their journey.

Stories, Wine, and Kicking Back

To start the holiday, Jewish families come together for a lengthy, traditonal seder, or Passover meal, to retell the story of the Israelites´ flight from slavery to freedom.

Four traditional questions about the exodus out of Egypt are recited at the table, usually in Hebrew, by the youngest children in the family, and answered by the patriarch. Passages from the ancient Haggadah prayer book are read, and special Passover songs are sung.

During the meal, four cups of wine are served with special prayers. An extra glass of wine is put on the table and the door to the house is traditionally left open in the hopes that the prophet Elijah will enter, drink the wine, and announce the coming of the Messiah.

Since Pesach is considered a special time of relaxation and celebration, tipping your chair back and reclining at the table is encouraged.

A Symbolic Feast

Many of the foods on the seder plate have a symbolic meaning in the Passover story.

For example, vegetables dipped in salt water represent the tears shed during slavery, bitter herbs (usually horseradish) remind worshipers of the bitterness of bondage, and a paste of apples, dried fruit, and wine called charoset is meant to echo the sweetness of freedom.

In religious households, a special set of plates and silverware is used exclusively during the holiday week, and everything eaten in the home must be classified as “Kosher for Passover.”

Ten Plagues

The biblical story of the exodus from Egypt has been told and retold for thousands of years during Pesach ceremonies.

According to the Book of Exodus, Moses informed the ruling Pharaoh that the Hebrew God asked for permission to allow the Jews to leave Egypt.

The narrative says that the Pharaoh refused, and God unleashed ten plagues on the Egyptians: turning the Nile River red with blood, inflicting a pox on cattle and boils on people, hailstorms, three days of darkness, and even the slaying of every firstborn son by an avenging angel.

Legend has it that the Angel of Death carrying out this grim mission passed over the house of the Jews, sparing them, which may be the source of the name Passover.

Finally, the story holds that the Pharaoh agreed and gave the Jews a few hours to gather their things and flee to the Sinai desert, where they famously wandered for forty years before finding a home in Canaan.

Jewish Holidays Last Longer Outside of Israel

In the Jewish diaspora—Jewish communities outside of Israel—an extra day is usually added to religious observances, with the exception of Yom Kippur, which lasts only one day worldwide, and Rosh Hashana, which is celebrated over two days in both Israel and the diaspora.

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.

About Passover (first day) in Other Countries

Read more about Passover (first day).

Passover (first day) Observances

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

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2019SatApr 20Passover (first day)Jewish holiday
2020ThuApr 9Passover (first day)Jewish holiday
2021SunMar 28Passover (first day)Jewish holiday
2022SatApr 16Passover (first day)Jewish holiday
2023ThuApr 6Passover (first day)Jewish holiday
2024TueApr 23Passover (first day)Jewish holiday
2025SunApr 13Passover (first day)Jewish holiday
2026ThuApr 2Passover (first day)Jewish holiday
2027ThuApr 22Passover (first day)Jewish holiday
2028TueApr 11Passover (first day)Jewish holiday
2029SatMar 31Passover (first day)Jewish holiday

While we diligently research and update our holiday dates, some of the information in the table above may be preliminary. If you find an error, please let us know.