Passover lasts for a complete week and the first and last days are major holidays. No work is performed during the Passover week in Orthodox and Conservative communities, in consonance with the rules of the Shabbat. However, the Orthodox and Conservative Jewish communities outside Israel celebrate the Passover for eight days, with the first two and the last two days being the major holidays. In the remaining four days, work can be performed. The intermediary days of Passover are known as Chol HaMoed (festival weekdays), like the holiday of Sukhot. Chol HaMoed are also imbued with a festive spirit.
Passover Week Celebrations
On the first day of the Passover week, a Seder is held. In the night, a Jew has to recount the story of Exodus from Egypt. This commandment by God is to be performed during the Passover Seder. A Rabbinic requirement calls upon the Jews to drink four cups of wine during Seder, which is mandatory for both men and women. Even the poorest of the Jews are obliged to drink during the Seder. Each cup of wine has its significance, the first cup is for Kiddush, the second is connected with the recounting of the Exodus, the third cup of wine is to signify the conclusion of Birkat Hamazon and the fourth cup is associated with Hallel.
On the second night of Passover, the 16th day of Nissan, Jews begin the practice of counting of the Omar, a nightly reminder of the approaching Shavout, after 50 days. Jews recite a special blessing each night, after the evening prayer service, followed by enumerating the day of the Omar. The seventh day of Passover, Known as Shvi'i shel Pesach, is a full Jewish holiday, marked with prayer services and festive meals. Shvi'i shel Pesach commemorates the day on which Jews had reached the Red sea and had become witness to the miraculous Passage of the Sea.
Hasidic Rebbes are traditionally known to hold a tish (a gathering of Hasidim around their Rebbe) on the night of Shvi'i shel Pesachm. They place a cup or bowl of water on a table before them and speak about the miraculous “Splitting of the Sea.” After escaping the slavery of the Egyptian pharaoh, the Jews had reached till the Red Sea, when the Egyptian army again encountered them to block their safe passage. It was at this moment that God split the Red sea, making a parting for the Jews to escape safely. When the Egyptian soldiers tried to toe the same line, they were drowned in the sea by God. This incident, as described in the Hebrew bible, is known as the “Splitting of the Sea”.