Sephardic Passover / Pesach customs and traditions reflect a rich and exotic Jewish culture that flourished for many centuries on the Iberian Peninsula in Spain and Portugal. From the exotic and delicious cuisine, to the music, to the colorful customs practised at the Passover / Pesach Seder table, observing the Passover / Pesach customs and traditions of the Sephardim is always a fabulous experience.

Before reading about Sephardi Passover customs and traditions, one must understand the origin and meaning of the Hebrew words "Sephardic", "Sephardi", and "Sephardim" (alternate spellings: "Sefardic", "Sefardi", and "Sefardim"). All the aforementioned Hebrew words are derived from the Hebrew word "Sepharad" which was originally mentioned as a place name in the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible, in Obadiah 1:20. The place name "Sepharad" was identified as a district located near the Bosphorus in Asia Minor (now in Turkey). Later on, in the Middle Ages, the place name "Sepharad" was identified by Jewish biblical commentators (Rashi, Ibn Ezra) as Ispamia (either Spain or the Iberian Peninsula, meaning both Spain and Portugal), and "Sephardim" came to denote both the "Inhabitants of Spain", specifically, the Jewish inhabitants of Spain, and/or the "Inhabitants of the Iberian Peninsula", specifically meaning the Jewish inhabitants of both Spain and Portugal. Similarly, a "Sephardi" was either a Spanish-Jewish person or a Portuguese-Jewish person, and the word "Sephardic" described Jews who adopted the rich cultural and religious traditions of the Spanish-Jews and Portuguese-Jews. Since Jews in Spain and Portugal from the Early Middle Ages until the latter part of the 15th century C.E. lived more or less in relative peace with their fellow citizens, a rich and strong cultural and religious tradition developed within both the Spanish and Portuguese Jewish communities, particularly in the Spanish-Jewish communities, including prayer rites ("nusach", "nusah" or "nusakh" in Hebrew), legal concepts, mores, religious traditions, etc. With the peak of the Spanish Inquisition and Portuguese Inquisition in 1492 and 1497 respectively resulting in the expulsion of all non-Catholics from Spain and Portugal, the Jews from "Sepharad" migrated to other countries in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, bringing with them the strong cultural and religious influence of the "Sephardim" or "Sephardi Jews" or "Sephardic Jews" of Spain and Portugal. They settled among the already established Jewish communities of North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia and their cultural and religious influence eventually absorbed many (but not all) of those established Jewish communities, so much so that the definition for the words "Sephardic", "Sephardi", and "Sephardim" was eventually extended to refer to Jewish communities who lived not only in Spain and Portugal (some Spanish and Portuguese Jews eventually returned to the Iberian Peninsula after the Inquisitions), but also to Jewish communities who adopted the cultural and religious influences of the original Sephardic Jews or Sephardi Jews of Spain and Portugal.

Sephardic Passover customs and traditions can vary from region to region, country to country, city to city, community to community, and family to family. Many Sephardic customs and traditions involved assimilating Passover rituals with the culinary, musical, and linguistic traditions of the surrounding peoples in the areas where Sephardim lived. The following is a selected list of Sephardic Passover customs and traditions:

Share/Save/Bookmark          Subscribe

                                           eXTReMe Tracker