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O, For the Days of Yore
The holiday of Passover, or Pesach, follows the Hebrew calendar. It falls the 15-22 of the month of Nissan and this year is 5774 on the Hebrew calendar. Here are corresponding dates for Passover 2014 on the Gregorian calendar plus the dates for the next three years.
Sundown Monday, April 14, to evening Tuesday, April 22
Sundown Wednesday, April 3, to evening Saturday, April 11
Sundown Wednesday, April 22, to evening Saturday, April 30
Sundown Saturday, April 10, to evening Tuesday, April 18
Typically, the first two days of Passover, from sundown the first date to nightfall two days later, are full-fledged holidays. The middle two days are considered minor holidays and the last two are more important again.
This year, the dates closely correspond with Easter holiday, which doesn’t always happen. Here are the dates for Easter 2014.
Palm Sunday – April 13
Good Friday – April 18
The Jewish calendar is considered a lunar-solar calendar. The length of days are controlled by the times of sunset and sunrise, hence the length of day varies depending on the season. The months, on the other hand, follow the phases of the moon, but the months also must align with the right seasons which is governed by the sun.
Since the solar year is 365 days, and the lunar year is 354 days, leap years (“pregnant years” in Hebrew) have to be added to resolve the discrepancy. Unlike Gregorian calendar leap years which add an extra day, February 29, Hebrew calendar leap years add an entire extra month. Thirteen-month leap years occur 7 times in a 19-year cycle.