The Passover celebrates the freeing of the children of Israel from the bond of Egypt, which is believed to have happened over 3500 years ago.
The story of Jewish Passover can be found in the first chapters of Exodus. This section of the bible tells of the Jewish peoples escape from the Egyptians and their forty-year wanderings around the desert.
The Passover is generally thought of as a feast as God instructed the Jews to slaughter and eat a lamb. This translation is only partly correct. The actual meaning of Jewish Passover has to do with the blood of the lamb that was to be spread on the homes of the Jews so God would pass over them during the 10th plague. The 10th plague was the killing of Egyptian first-born children to avenge Egypt's enslaving of God's chosen people. This is the way things are presented in the bible. This clearly indicates just how religion can be a complicated thing to understand.
Passover 2006 will be celebrated for eight days as all previous Jewish Passover festivals have been. The celebrating of Passover 2006 will be marked with a feast and much prayer and thanksgiving to God for the Jewish people's relief from the clutches of evil.
Calculating the Passover is not done so with the standard calendar but instead with the Hebrew calendar. The Passover 2006 will begin at sundown on April 12, 2006, which is a Wednesday. Because of time zone and dateline differences, Passover 2006 will begin at different times for the various parts of the world. Some standard calendars do note the first day of Passover 2006 but this is not a widespread practice because of the changes in the timing of the holiday.
The Jewish Passover is also marked by the removal of all leavened products from their homes and not to consume any such products. Unleavened bread is that which is baked without the use of yeast. The lack of yeast makes the bread clean and suitable for eating during the Passover.
Some of the traditions have changed over the ages. Passover 2006 will most likely be celebrated without the use of a lamb but instead a hard-boiled egg and shank bone will be roasted. This practice was instituted after the destruction of the Second Temple. There are however, some groups who still believe in the using of the lamb as the bible instructs. This is not a widely accepted practice in the Jewish religion.
During the Passover feast the story of the first Passover will be read. This is a widely used tradition between reform and non-reform Jews. Some compare this too the reading of a Christmas tale on Christmas Eve, but most of the Jewish faith say this is an unfair and incorrect analogy.
The feast is referred to as the Passover Seder. Not a simple matter, the Passover Seder has many steps that must be followed. Besides the traditional blessings, special prayers are also recited. In between the prayers and blessings, several courses of the feast are served, each with their own significance. Besides their religious and historical significance, each serving of food must be accurate in proportion to fulfill the laws set down by God at the first Passover.