LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Passover begins at sundown Monday night in a celebration of what the Old Testament describes as God’s deliverance of the Israelites from bondage in Egypt.

Observant Jews in Southern California and around the world will gather for a feast called a Seder, featuring six symbolic foods.

The feast includes matzo, a cracker-like unleavened bread symbolizing the Exodus from the land of pharaoh, when there was not enough time to let the bread rise. Jews are not supposed to eat anything leavened during the holiday period.

During the Seder, people drink four cups of wine or grape juice. As part of the ritual, a child traditionally asks “the four questions,” the first being, “Why is this night different from all over nights?”

The meal is accompanied by reading from the Haggadah, or “narration” book, which tells the story of the Israelites’ deliverance from bondage.

Passover is observed for seven days in Israel and eight days by many outside Israel because of different interpretations of Jewish law. Outside Israel, Seders are held on the first two days of Passover.

Passover commemorates the final plague that finally persuaded the pharaoh to allow the enslaved Israelites to leave Egypt. According to the book of Exodus, the Israelites used the blood of lambs to mark their doors so the Angel of Death would “pass over” their homes and instead slay the firstborn sons of Egyptians.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

Comments (7)
  1. Meg says:

    Are there ever celebrations where someone or something doesn’t have to be killed? Everyone always has to do something to someone else. Just stop. No lamb or Egyptian first borns should have been slain either.

    1. rob says:

      420 day is a day of celebration and no one died

    2. bdj says:


      You’re right, no one should have to die at the hands of another. But unfortunatly the world was not like that then or now. To bad the concept of peace on Earth, good will to man is not observed 24/7 366 days a year. (366 days, I did not want to forget leap year).

  2. Ron Accosta says:

    Everyone blames the Jews for everything, you know maybe they are right, if Moses had turned left instead of right when he led his people out of Egypt, we might have gotten the oil instead of the Saudi’s

  3. sally r. says:

    I am pretty sure that’s Yom Kippur.

    1. bdj says:


      Yom Kippur is the Day of Attonment. Passover is when Moses lead the Jewish nation out of Egypt.

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