Origin and History of Passover in Poland
Passover, or Pesach, is one of the most widely celebrated Jewish festivals across the world. It is a seven to eight day holiday in the Jewish calendar that begins on the 15th day of the Jewish month of Nisan, corresponding to dates in March or April as per the Gregorian calendar. These holy days of Passover celebrate the freedom and exodus of Israelites from Egypt during the reign of Pharaoh Ramses II, more than 3000 years ago. The history of Jews in Poland dates back over a millennium. For centuries, Poland was home to the largest and most significant Jewish community in the world. In addition, Poland was the centre of Jewish culture due to a long period of statutory religious tolerance and social autonomy. As such, Passover is the largest festival of Jews with a special cultural and religious significance in Poland. In the following lines, explore some traditional ways of celebrating Passover in Poland.
Local name: Pesach
Ways to celeberate Pesach in Poland
Passover in Poland is a huge cultural and religious event for every Polish Jew. It is a week-long fiesta with specific meanings and traditions assigned for each day. The most traditional custom is observing fast and consuming only unleavened bread, which is known as Matzah or Matzo. The first two nights of Passover are called Seder, which is considered to be the best time for family gatherings, lavish meals, reciting the story of Passover, and reading ancient hymns through Haggadah (holy book of Jews). Coupled with its special foods, songs, and customs, Seder is a major observance in the Jewish culture as part of Passover celebration. The most unique tradition followed by Polish Jews is the re-enactment of the crossing of Red Sea in their living rooms on the seventh day of Passover. They pour water on the floor of their homes, hike up their coats, and say the name of the towns in the region they would pass while making their crossing.