Passover (Pesach) lasts for eight days in Canada. Many Jewish people mark Passover with family members and close friends. Others choose to take a Passover vacation at a hotel or resort.
Is the First day of Passover a Public Holiday?
The first day of Passover is not a public holiday. It falls on Sunday, March 28, 2021, and most businesses follow regular Sunday opening hours in Canada.
What Do People Do?
Many people spend Passover with family and close friends. They may spend more time at their local synagogue and eat some meals with members of their community. Those who may find it difficult to organize Passover observances are invited to other people’s homes for some or all of the Passover period.
Other people choose to spend this period in a hotel or resort or on a cruise ship that meets the cleanliness and food purity standards for Passover. People may combine the Passover observances, such as the Seder, with other activities. Popular activities include relaxing with family or friends, skiing in the Canadian mountains, or enjoying the natural wonders of Canada. Others choose this time of the year to study Jewish law and culture under a well-known or respected Rabbi’s supervision.
Passover is not a public holiday in Canada. However, some Jewish businesses and organizations may be closed or offer a reduced level of service over the Passover period.
Background and symbols
Passover is related to the Christian observances of Good Friday and Easter Sunday and the Islamic Day of Ashura. Read about other Jewish observances, such as Tu B’Shevat (Arbor Day), Purim, Yom HaShoah, Lag B’Omer, Shavuot, Tisha B’Av and Rosh Hashana.
Jewish Holidays Last Longer Outside of Israel
In the Jewish diaspora—Jewish communities outside of Israel—an extra day is usually added to religious observances, with the exception of Yom Kippur, which lasts only one day worldwide, and Rosh Hashana, which is celebrated over two days in both Israel and the diaspora.
This custom has its roots in ancient times when the beginning of the months in the Jewish calendar still relied on the sighting of the crescent Moon following a New Moon.
The beginning of a new month was determined by the Sanhedrin, the supreme court of ancient Israel in Jerusalem. Once the date was published, messengers were dispatched to spread the news among Jews living abroad. Since this process took some time, it was decreed that Jews outside of ancient Israel were to observe every holiday for 2 days to make sure that the rules and customs applicable to each holiday were observed on the proper date. This rule is still observed today.