Burning Chametz

chametz burning in Edison New Jersey
Before Pesach we have a custom of burning chametz (bread, crackers, cereal, pasta, anything made of five grains: wheat, barley, rye, oats and spelt). When I was a kid, I remember burning chametz in our backyard. Now there are laws about creating fires, so observant Jews get special permission to burn chametz. This burning took place in Edison, New Jersey.

chametz burn lulav
A tradition we have in our family (and others do as well) is to burn the lulav, the palm branch left over from Sukkot, the fall holiday in which we sit in a booth outside for a week.

smokey bread chametz and lulav
In this photo you can see both lulavim (plural of lulav) and real bread. It got quite smokey – my husband doesn’t remember it being so smokey in the past. Maybe this is because the regular Edison staff were on vacation for Good Friday and a nice person was left in charge who didn’t quite manage the smoke? I don’t know, but I left there sniffing my clothes, wondering if I smelt like someone who had walked into a smokey bar.

I had enough time to attend biur chametz (burning of the chametz) this year because I managed to get all the cooking I had planned the day before and early in the morning. One of the most popular dishes among my sister-in-law’s family that I made was mushroom paté; personally, my favorite was the marinated beets with ginger and garlic. Planning to make both of those again tomorrow.

11 thoughts on “Burning Chametz

    • Glad you like them! I also enjoy watching the variety of Jews in our town (black suits and hats to casual wear, mostly men and children but at least one other woman with small kids) using the same burning can, but I don’t want to show identifiable photos here.

    • I commented to my kids on how it would be fun to package the smells, too, to show on the blog, just like one shows images or sounds.

  • I find the special Jewish traditions very interesting, especially since they are so closely related to our own. I think traditions and worshiping knit people together with almost unbreakable bonds.
    I’m amazed at your advanced cooking skills.
    I guess I’d never make a good Jew unless I had a trained cook to help me out.

    I love making bon-fires. I was actually a good wild life scout…
    I wish one could take pictures from behind to illustrate the great gatherings, but I do understand people’s need for peace and anonymity.
    Great post anyway.

    • If you became Jewish (or decided to keep kosher), you could connect with thousands of women who are experienced in cooking who could share tips, ideas, recipes. If you can learn, you can cook!

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