Passover, or Pesach (pay-sock, meaning “to pass over” or “to spare” in Hebrew), is a commemoration of the Israelites’ journey out of slavery in Egypt. It’s a weeklong festival that occurs each year in March or April, in the Hebrew month of Nissan. Passover is a celebration of freedom, renewal and resilience and typically ends with a seder (meaning “order” in Hebrew), a ritual that involves symbolic foods, readings, songs, questions and storytelling.
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The story of Passover takes place at a time when the pharaoh of Egypt had enslaved the Israelites, and God called upon Moses to tell the pharaoh to let his people go. When the pharaoh refused, God sent 10 plagues to the Egyptians, the last of which was a vow to send an angel of the Lord to kill the firstborn in each Egyptian home.
Israelites marked their doors with the blood of slaughtered lambs so the plague would “pass over” them and spare their families. After the plague, Israelites fled Egypt immediately. They left so quickly that the bread they were baking didn’t have time to rise. The unleavened bread is known today as matzo, a symbolic cracker. At the shore of the Red Sea, Moses called on God’s power to part the sea. The Israelites passed through safely before the sea crashed in and drowned the Egyptian army.
As the Israelites left Egypt, God commanded the people to mark seven days in the month of Nissan and to observe them each year by eating unleavened bread and telling their children the history of the Israelite’s journey out of Egypt.
Learn more about the history of Passover here.
Many people celebrate Passover each year with a one- or two-night seder, a ritual meal that includes storytelling, singing, asking questions and eating symbolic foods. The foods on the seder plate represent a variety of things, from the bitterness of slavery to the circle of life.
At Passover, it’s also common to send cards and well-wishes to friends and family who observe the holiday. You don’t have to be a close relative in order to share your “Happy Passover” wishes. Here are some ideas for what to write in a Passover card no matter who is celebrating.
Find Passover cards here.
These expressions are fitting for anyone who celebrates Passover.
- “Happy Passover!”
- “Chag Sameach!” (Happy Holiday!)
- “Chag Pesach Sameach!” (Happy Passover!)
- “Chag Pesach kasher vesame’ach.” (Have a kosher and joyous Passover.)
- “Thinking of you this Passover.”
- “Wishing you a meaningful Passover.”
- “Thinking of you during this time of reflection and renewal.”
Family often gathers at Passover for seder and to honor and retell the stories of their history together. Add a personal touch to your Passover greetings with these messages.
- “Here’s to a meaningful seder and a Happy Passover.”
- “Thinking of you as we commemorate a profound time in our history.”
- “There’s no better time than Passover to say thanks for the love we’re surrounded by all year.”
- “When I count my blessings this time of year, you’re at the top of my list!”
- “Grateful for family like you as we celebrate times like these.”
- “Passover is a time for remembering, and I’ll never forget what you mean to me.”
Share these simple phrases with friends who celebrate Passover.
- “Wishing you peace and blessings this Passover.”
- “Thinking of you as you celebrate such an important time of renewal.”
- “Keeping you and our friendship in my heart during this season of blessings.”
- “Wishing you the best at Passover and always.”
- “Here’s to a full plate and a happy heart this Passover. Grateful for all your friendship has brought to my life.”
- “Sending you love and gratitude for our friendship this Passover.”
For kids, Passover can be a meaningful and exciting holiday, as there are several traditions that include or focus on children, such as the hiding (and finding!) of the afikomen (a piece of matzo, sometimes chocolate-covered, and wrapped in a cloth), the ritual of asking questions, and learning about and reading the stories of Passover.
- “Here’s to a sweet Passover for one cool kid!”
- “Wishing you lotsa matzo and a Happy Passover!”
- “Hope you find the afikomen!”
- “So many questions, so little time. Have a great Passover!”
- “Here’s to freedom, feasts and family!”
If you learned something new or observed an interesting ritual that piqued your interest, be sure to say so. Extend gratitude for the meal, the time together, and the opportunity to experience something dear to your friend or family’s hearts.
Here are a few phrases that work well:
- “Thank you for including me in such a meaningful ritual.”
- “I learned a lot and appreciated the warm welcome—and the food!”
- “I am grateful to have been included. Thank you for having me.”
- “Passover is such a special time, and I am honored to have experienced a seder with you.”
- “Thanks for introducing me to your traditions!”