Fast of the Firstborn (Hebrew: תענית בכורות, Ta’anit B’khorot or תענית בכורים, Ta’anit B’khorim); is a unique fast day in Judaism which usually falls on the day before Passover (i.e. the fourteenth day of Nisan, a month in the Jewish calendar. Passover always begins on the fifteenth of the Hebrew month). Usually, the fast is broken at a siyum celebration (typically made at the conclusion of the morning services), which, according to prevailing custom, creates an atmosphere of rejoicing that overrides the requirement to continue the fast (see Breaking the fast below). Unlike most Jewish fast days, only firstborns are required to fast on the Fast of the Firstborn.
This fast commemorates the salvation of the Israelite firstborns during the Plague of the Firstborn (according to the Book of Exodus, the tenth of the ten plagues wrought upon Ancient Egypt prior to the Exodus of the Children of Israel), when, according to Exodus (12:29): “…God struck every firstborn in the Land of Mitzrayim (Ancient Egypt)….”
Wikipedia contributors, “Fast of the Firstborn,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed April 2, 2015).
“Panewniki stained glass 24” by Abraham Sobkowski OFM – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
“Holman Death of the Firstborn” by illustrators of the 1890 Holman Bible – http://thebiblerevival.com/clipart/1890holmanbible/bw/deathofthefirstborn.jpg. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.