Passover… The Festival, The Symbolism, The Food For Thought

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To our friends celebrating, we wish you a Spring fresh with new promises and a Passover blossoming with joy.

For our friends who don’t celebrate, did you know…

Passover is an eight-day (or 7-day depending on geography) festival celebrated in the early spring. It commemorates the emancipation of the Jews from slavery and their subsequent exodus from ancient Egypt.

The first night of Passover begins with a ceremonial dinner called a Seder, where the story of the exodus is told by reciting passages from the Haggadah.

While the meal itself varies from family to family, most traditional Seder plates include the following symbolic foods for thought:

  • Roasted Lamb Shankbone – represents the paschal (lamb) sacrifice made the night the ancient Hebrews fled Egypt.
  • Roasted Egg – represents the holiday offering brought in the days of the Holy Temple and the continuing cycle of life.
  • The Bitter Herbs – represent the bitterness of slavery (horseradish is the most common).
  • Charoset – a sweet mixture of apples, nuts and wine which resembles the mortar and brick made by the Jews when they toiled for the pharaohs.
  • Karpas – a green vegetable (usually parsley) representing the freshness of spring.
  • The 2nd Bitter Herb – most often romaine lettuce… it holds the same meaning as above.
  • A bowl of salt water to dip the karpas symbolizing the slaves’ tears.

Other traditional elements of the Passover Seder include drinking four cups of wine or grape juice – a royal drink to celebrate new found freedom – and three matzos (unleavened bread, symbolizing the haste of the flight from Egypt – there was no time for the bread to rise), either wrapped in cloth or covered, and broken and eaten at set points throughout the evening.

Happy Passover!

NAVIGATE