How is Passover Celebrated?

April 13, 2023

Out of all the Jewish holidays, Passover is one of the most symbolic holidays in the Jewish calendar. The holiday is celebrated with the seder: a dinner in which the story of Passover is told which takes place the first two nights of the holiday. On a traditional seder plate, there are six items, all which have symbolic meanings: shank bone, egg, two types of bitter herbs, lettuce, and haroset (a sweet mixture of apples and nuts). Most importantly, matzah is present at every seder.

Matzah is an unleavened flatbread which can be compared to a cracker in its consistency. For the eight days in which Passover is celebrated, Jews do not eat any leavened grains (wheat, barley, oats, etc.) because when the Jewish people escaped from Egypt, their bread did not have enough time to rise.

Though the seder has been around for hundreds of years, in recent years new traditions have surfaced for what families include on their seder plates. Recent additions include an orange to symbolize the group of marginalized Jews such as women and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

The seder is meant for its guests to relive the experience of being liberated from Egypt. For example, dipping bitter herbs in saltwater is meant to symbolize the tears of the Jewish slaves. During the seder, the Haggadah is read which tells the story of Passover and outlines the order in which the seder takes place.

In Israel, Passover is celebrated for seven days but everywhere else in the world, the holiday is celebrated for eight days. This year, Passover is celebrated from April 5 to April 13.

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