When it comes to Jewish holidays, Passover appears to be the most well known. Specially amongst foodies.
The Passover Seder is a special ritual feast in celebration of Passover. The most important feature of this meal is that no leavened bread (or bread allowed to rise) is served on the table. In addition, there is the required six items in the Seder Plate: maror (bitter herb, e.g. horseradish), chazeret (bitter herb, e.g. romaine lettuce), charoset (sweet, brown paste of fruits and nuts), karpas (piece of vegetable), zeroa (roasted lamb bone), and beitzah (roasted egg).
In addition, the Passover Seder must follow a traditional ritual of fifteen stages. These steps are:
Kadesh: The first of four cups of wine is poured; the blessing is said to sanctify the feast day.
Urechatz: The hands are washed before handling the karpas.
Karpas: A vegetable is dipped in salt water, and then eaten.
Yachatz: The middle of three matzos is broken. The larger half is wrapped in a napkin and hidden for afikoman (dessert).
Maggid: The second cup of wine is poured, and the story of the flight of the Jewish slaves from Egypt is told.
Rachtzah: The hands are washed before the meal.
Motzi: A prayer is said before breaking bread.
Matzo: The matzo is blessed.
Maror: The bitter herb is tasted.
Korech: A “sandwich” of matzo, bitter herbs, and charoset is eaten.
Shulchan Orech: The meal begins.
Tzafun: A child discovers the afikoman, which is then eaten.
Barech: The third cup of wine is poured, and the grace after meals is recited. An extra cup of wine is also poured for the prophet Elijah, and a child opens the door of the house to invite him in.
Hallel: The fourth cup of wine is poured, followed by psalms of praise and a prayer.
Nirtzah: The service concludes with a hymn, which is traditionally followed by playful songs for the children.
Passover is also the time for families, friends, and even strangers can come together and celebrate their history. It is the symbol of their freedom, and an opportunity to renew ties with each other. By partaking in the Passover Seder, Jews all over the world become one in spirit and in their hope for a better future.