Many Jewish communities in Canada mark the last day of Passover as the end of a Jewish holiday that celebrates the deliverance of Jewish people from slavery in Egypt. Passover is also known as Pesah, Pesach, or the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Is the Last day of Passover a Public Holiday?
The last day of Passover is not a public holiday. It falls on Sunday, April 4, 2021, and most businesses follow regular Sunday opening hours in Canada.
What Do People Do?
Passover lasts for up to eight days (or seven days among Reform Jewish groups). There are many Jewish people who adhere to most of the Sabbath observances during the last day of Passover. Some may take a holiday around this time of the year.
Many Jewish families in Canada eat a ceremonial meal known as the Seder, which involves telling the story of the exodus from Egypt as well as eating various symbolic foods. Unleavened bread replaces ordinary bread during Passover meals. Many families end the meal with after-dinner blessings and by singing traditional songs.
None of the Passover days are federal holidays in Canada. However, many Jewish businesses and organizations are closed for some of the days or have restricted opening hours on others.
Background and symbols
Passover celebrates Jewish people’s deliverance from slavery in Egypt. It is one of the three pilgrim festivals. 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.