What is the Passover?

The Passover is a Jewish celebration to remember how the Israelites escaped from Egypt. The Bible says:

The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in the country of Egypt. He said: ‘This month will be for you the first month of your year. Tell the Israelites that the 10th day of this month is special.

Each man must take a young sheep for his family. Take one young sheep for each home. The family may be too small to eat a whole sheep. Then they must eat it with another small family. You must decide this by how much each person can eat. Each young sheep must have nothing wrong with it. It must be a male that is one year old. It can be either a young sheep or a young goat.

Keep the young sheep safe until the 14th day of the month. Then all Israel’s people must kill the young sheep in the evening. Then they must take some of the blood. They must put it on the wood that is round the door of their houses. They must do this to the houses where they will eat the young sheep. That night, they must cook the meat over the fire and they must eat it. They must eat it with special plants and with bread that has no yeast in it. You must cook the meat, but do not boil it in water. Cook the meat over the fire, with the head, the legs and the inside parts of the animal. You must eat all of the meat before the morning comes. If you cannot eat it before the morning, then you must burn it. This is how you must eat the young sheep: Fix your belt round your coat, put your shoes on your feet. Take your stick in your hand and eat the food quickly.

This meal will be called the Passover of the Lord. I will pass through the country of Egypt on that night. I will kill every firstborn, both men and animals. I will punish all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you, on all the houses where you live. When I see the blood on the house, then I will pass over you. No bad thing will touch you, when I attack the country of Egypt.’ (Exodus 12:1–13)

To read the whole story of Moses and how God led the people out of Egypt, see the Book of Exodus.

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