Passover is among the most well-known of Jewish holidays because of the seder meal.
"Passover" or Pesach in Hebrew commemorates God's sparing of the Hebrew firstborn, as he "passed over" the houses of Jews who had lamb's blood spread on their door posts.
Children have traditionally played an important role in seder meal. The youngest child is encouraged to ask questions which encourages the gathering to discuss the significance of the symbols of the meal.
To several questions from the children throughout the meal, adults will use responses from the Haggadah, a special text recounting the exodus, to answer.
The seder meal has specific dishes which must be eaten and rituals.
The table is set with the best china and silverware, reflecting the importance of the meal.
Four cups of wine are consumed at selected intervals as blessings are said.
The meal must have matzo (unleavened bread), and bitter herbs.
In preparation for Passover, Jews clean their homes meticulously, insuring that every morsel of leavening (chametz) is removed.
Traditionally, on the evening before Passover a family conducts a search for any remaining chametz to ensure no crumbs remain in any corner.
Chametz may be sold if the quantities of items with leavening, including liquor, is large. It is then repurchased after the holiday.
In Israel Passover lasts for seven days, with the first and last days celebrated as major holidays. Outside Israel, the holiday lasts eight days with the first two and last two considered major holidays.