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What is Passover? And how is it celebrated?

From the story of the Israelites in Egypt, to what you'll find on a seder plate, here's what you should know about the Jewish holiday of Passover.

MINNEAPOLIS — Editor's Note: The video above is a Passover macaroon recipe that originally aired on KARE 11 on March 25, 2021.

Starting at sundown on Friday, April 15, Jews across the globe will begin observing Passover, a spring holiday that commemorates the Israelites' exodus from Egypt thousands of years ago.

Passover, called "pesach" in Hebrew, is celebrated for seven or eight days, depending on local customs or traditions. Reform Jews typically observe Passover for seven days.

How do Jews celebrate Passover?

To prepare for Passover, Jews often remove "chametz," or leavened bread products, from their home. Throughout the holiday, people observing Passover will abstain from eating bread products and instead eat matzah, a square or sometimes round cracker, to symbolize how the Israelites didn't have time to let their bread rise during their hasty departure from Egypt.

The first two nights of Passover are also marked by a "Seder," or ceremonial dinner, where friends and family get together to read and retell the story of the Israelites in Egypt. The story, prayers and songs are read from a "Haggadah."

One of the key components to a Seder is the Seder plate, which includes a roasted egg, shank bone, bitter herbs (often horseradish), "charoset" (chopped apples, nuts and spices) and parsley. Some Jews will also include lettuce and matzah on their Seder plates.

Each of the items on the Seder plate is symbolic of the Passover story.

What is a common Passover greeting?

To wish someone a Happy Passover, you could say "Chag Sameach" or "Chag Pesach Sameach," which translates to "Happy Passover Holidays."

What foods do people eat on Passover?

One of the most popular foods to eat on Passover is matzah ball soup, but many Jewish delis and restaurants serve it year-round. Made with matzah meal, eggs and other ingredients, the sometimes fluffy, occasionally dense balls are suspended in broth as an appetizer or hearty main dish.

Another item you'll likely find during a Seder is gefilte fish: A deboned, ground-up mix of fish that you can make yourself or buy pre-packaged in a jar. 

Kugel and other dishes made with egg noodles, coconut macaroons, brisket, potatoes, chocolate-covered matzah and flourless desserts are all popular during Passover.

If you need to use up some of your matzah, try making sweet or savory matzah brie, or "fried matzah."

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