Being married to an Iranian, I am gradually getting used to the various Islamic and Zorastranian festivals and celebrations, the latest being Nowruz or New Year which I wrote about last week.
I also have a number of Jewish friends and colleagues who will be celebrating the 7-8 day Festival of Pesach (Passover) from tomorrow and having watched a programme on the BBC today about Pesach and the Passover meal, Seder, it provided the inspiration behind this evening’s Blog.
Jews celebrate Pesach/Passover to commemorate their liberation from slavery in Pharaoh-ruled ancient Egypt. One of the most memorable bible stories has to be from the Book of Exodus when Moses is chosen by God to lead the Israelite slaves out of Egypt and into Canaan. The parting of the Red Sea allowed the fleeing slaves to walk across unharmed and once safely through, the sea returned to close behind them drowning the pursuing Egyptian army.
I understand that “Passover” derives from tenth plague that God inflicted on the Egyptians before the Pharaoh would release the Israelite slaves. The tenth plague was the sentence to death of Egyptian first-born children. To safeguard their children, the Israelites were told to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a sacrificed lamb so that when God saw this mark, his spirit would know to “pass over” these homes.
During the 7-8 days of the festival, no leavened bread is eaten and all traces of Chametz are removed by a thorough spring clean.
The Passover meal, or Seder, traditionally marks the beginning of the Passover celebrations and it was the TV programme earlier which focused on the importance of Seder food and recipes that really caught my eye. Sadly, I can’t find the recipes used in today’s programme but there are plenty of Seder recipe suggestions on the internet so please do have a look as I’m sure you will be pleasantly surprised.