This year will be different. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, please only host Seder for the people you live with. Otherwise, host a virtual Shabbat.
Passover or Pesach is the first of the three major festivals in the Jewish calendar. (The other two are Shavu’ot and Sukkot). Passover occurs in spring and is followed seven weeks later by Shavu’ot. Sukkot occurs in autumn.
Passover commemorates the biblical story of Exodus when Hebrew slaves were freed from bondage in Egypt. So, Passover is a celebration of freedom. In the bible, the story is told in the Book of Exodus, Chapters 1-15.
When the Israelites were freed, legend has it that they left in a hurry and could not wait for their bread dough to rise, which is why no leavened (raised) bread is eaten during Passover. Instead, it is replaced by matzo or matzah, a flat, unleavened bread. Pesach is observed by avoiding chametz or leavened bread (including even the presence of chametz in the house), and highlighted by the ritual Seder meal while retelling the story of the Exodus.
Jewish people gather during Passover for a festive meal called a seder. Seder is the Hebrew word meaning “order,” as in “order of events.” A Passover seder is the way people celebrate. The first night of Passover begins with the Seder, a ceremonial meal containing the following six foods, used in an orderly ritual to commemorate the story of the Exodus.
- matzah (unleavened flatbread)
- zeroa (shankbone), beitzah (hard-boiled egg)
- maror and/or chazeret (bitter herbs such as horseradish or chicory)
- charoset (a sweet mixture that is often made of apples, nuts, wine, and traditional spices)
- karpas or raw vegetable (usually parsley, celery, or a boiled potato)
- salt or vinegar
Haggadah, which means “telling” is another custom. Its purpose is to guide participants through the ritual Seder meal, indicating when and how each rite is performed to retell the story of the Israelites Exodus from Egypt. Lighting candles are also a custom.
Passover 2020 begins at sundown on Wednesday, April 8, and ends Thursday, April 16.
The links below offer a variety of education, inspiration, and modern perspectives to revive declining but important family rituals.
Passover Seder and Haggadahs
- Passover Dishes You’ll Actually Want to Eat
- Passover Pizza with Cauliflower Crust
- KId-friendly Passover Recipes
- Flourless Passover Desserts for a Delicious Seder
- 25 ways to use Matzoh
- 10 Ways to Use Up Leftover Hard-Boiled Eggs
Passover Just for Kids
- A Felt Seder Plate for Kids
- Free e-book Seder Kit for Toddlers and Preschoolers
- Passover songs, stories, and games
- Simple Origami Jumping Frogs For Passover
- Passover color pages