Origin and History of Passover in Spain
Passover is the most significant festival in the Jewish community, which is celebrated on the 15th day of the first Hebrew month of Nisan. This generally falls in months of March or April according to the Gregorian calendar. Passover, referred to as Pesah, Pesach, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, is a holy festival commemorating the exodus of Israelites from the slavery of the Egyptians Pharaohs. As such, it is observed throughout the world with immense zeal and enthusiasm, though traditions vary from country to country. The word “Sephardi” comes from the term “Sefarad” which means Spain in Hebrew. Therefore, all Sephardic Jews in the world trace their history and existence of the Jews from Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Morocco, and other parts of the Mediterranean Region and Middle East. Though Judaism was practically non-existent in Spain from 1492 expulsion, but they were again permitted to enter the country in the 19th century. Since then, a small but effective community of Jews celebrates Passover with some specific Sephardic traditions.
Local name: Pesach
Ways to celeberate Pesach in Spain
Spanish Passover celebrations and customs reflect a rich and exotic Sephardic Jewish culture. During Pesach, Jews observe special fasts and consume only selected products, like rice (considered Kosher by Sephardi Jews), corn, millets, string beans, green peas, lentils, split peas, soybeans, and chickpeas. The traditional meal served on the first two days of Passover is called Seder. During Seder, Spanish Jews speak out the blessings over the first and third cup of wine, which is quite distinct from other countries. Passover food in Spain is specifically cooked in olive oil. Similar to other countries, Spanish Jews take traditional Matzah or Matzo, but instead of cooking it with meal, they use it with eggs and meat dishes. Some of the traditional dishes prepared during Spanish celebrations include Huevos Haminados (brown eggs), leek soup, lamb or fish sprinkled with fruits, mimulim, green beans, okra, and kibbe ib gheraz. The meal is then completed desserts, like Bisquitte pan d'Espagne and “tishpishti” (a syrup-drenched cake).