Passover is the spring Jewish holiday that commemorates the Jews' escape from Egypt where they were slaves. It is an eight-day-long event during which you can't eat leavened bread (bread with yeast in it). This is supposed to symbolize the rushed exit people made from their homes, in that the bread they were baking did not have the chance to rise. Without yeast, it became flatbread and that flatbread is matzoh, a staple of the Passover diet.
One of the ways that orthodox and conservative Jewish families prepare for Passover is by cleaning out their homes of all leavened products and anything that isn't kosher for Passover. It's a long and arduous process that also requires you to switch your dishes for the week of Passover to make sure that they're “clean” for the holiday.
Make sure to allow time for discussion about the meaning of the holiday when you invite non-Jewish friends over for Passover Seder. This will help your guest understand your traditions and fell more comfortable in an unfamiliar situation.
The Passover Seder
The way that Jewish families welcome the start of Passover is by holding a Seder, during which they retell the story of the long-ago escape from slavery. This ceremony usually occurs around a dinner table and culminates in a great feast.
If you happen to be including non-Jewish friends in your Seder, make sure that you adapt your plans to include lots of explanations about what's going on or the relevance of certain traditions. This will help those in attendance better understand what's going on.
If you happen to be invited to a friend's home for a Passover celebration and you're looking to bring a hostess gift, make sure that any food you choose says “Kosher for Passover” on it. Otherwise, your Jewish friend won't be able to bring it into her home or enjoy it until after Passover is over.