Also called Pesach, Pesah.a Jewish festival that commemorates the exodus of the Jews from Egypt and is marked chiefly by the Seder ritual and the eating of matzoth. It begins on the 14th day of Nisan and is celebrated for eight days by Orthodox and Conservative Jews outside of Israel and for seven days by Reform Jews and Jews in Israel.
Also called: Pesach, Pesah, Feast of the Unleavened Breadan eight-day Jewish festival beginning on Nisan 15 and celebrated in commemoration of the passing over or sparing of the Israelites in Egypt, when God smote the firstborn of the Egyptians (Exodus 12)Related adjective: paschal
1530, coined by Tyndale from verbal phrase pass over, to translate Hebrew ha-pesah "Passover," from pesah (see paschal), in reference to the Lord "passing over" the houses of the Israelites in Egypt when he killed the first-born of the Egyptians (Ex. xii).
The deliverance of the Israelites from the worst of the plagues of Egypt, and the annual festival kept afterward in memory of the event. Through Moses, God told the Israelites to prepare a special meal to be eaten in haste the evening before their escape from Egypt (see also Egypt) (seeExodus), with a whole roasted lamb as the main dish. The blood from the lamb was to be used to mark the Israelites' houses. That night, God would send the angel of Death to kill the firstborn males of the Egyptians (this was the worst of the plagues of Egypt), but God would see the blood on the Israelites' houses, and he would command his angel to “pass over” — to kill no one there. God told Moses that the Israelites were to repeat the meal each spring on the anniversary of their departure from Egypt. The Jews (see also Jews) keep the festival of Passover to this day.
Among Jews (see also Jews), the festival commemorating the Exodus, the deliverance of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt (see also Egypt). During Passover, unleavened bread, called matzo, is eaten. In the course of the festival, the story of the Exodus is read.