Passover traditions and rituals have a symbolic and religious significance. All the Passover traditions and customs are to be followed in a particular order.
The Passover festival starts on the fifteenth day of 'Nisan' and the feast acts as a prelude to the bigger picture on the first two days of the Passover. The feast is considered to be the most important part of the tradition and it is known as the Seder. It is the Jewish custom to call friends, families and the poor for this feast on the first two nights. The Seder plate is a crucial component of the feast in itself. All the food on the plate is symbolic of the feelings and the treatment of the Jews in Ancient Egypt. Before the feast night, all unwanted elements such as scraps and leftovers are disposed or given away to the non-Jewish as a 'cleaning' ritual. It is also a part of the custom to sing songs in praise of the Lord, narrate the story of the Exodus and remember the ancestors. Drinking the four cups of wine is also a necessary part of the tradition. Excerpts from the Haggadah are read to the children and they are educated about the Exodus and are expected to ask the four important questions, along with their families, while sitting at the Seder table.
The Story Of The Four Sons
One of the most interesting Passover traditions is the story of the Four Sons, who were Wise, Wicked, Simple, and Young. These sons are symbolic of the four types of Jews and their attitude towards their religion. The Wise son refer to the Jews who are observant, the Wicked son represents the Jews who are not respectful to their heritage and religion and reject them altogether, the Simple son is the one who is indifferent to all the religious activities and do not even try to understand them while the Young one represents the Jews who are ignorant of their culture and traditions. This story is recited at the table as a part of the custom.
The most important part of the Passover celebration is the ceremony of Seder. 'Seder' means 'order' in Hebrew and thus, all its rituals are observed in a particular order on this day. Seders are observed on the first 2 nights of the 8-day holiday with lavish meals with the Seder plate consisting of the five symbolic elements, special foods, stories, and history of Passover, plates, silverware, songs and prayers. It is a Jewish custom to wear white while observing Seder. White is said to be the color of joy and happiness and is often worn at pilgrimages and weddings apart from the Passover.
Gold And Silver
Gold, silver and all other ornamental artifacts are to be kept on the Seder table to remember the times when the Egyptians used to gift the Israelis gold and silver.
The tradition stated that while drinking the third cup of wine, the doors of home should be open. It's believed that during the feast Elijah, the Prophet comes and blesses the Seder. This is done even in modern times, as the Jews believe that the blessings are really powerful. Another custom is to leave the doors open for the poor who wander outside and would like to come in and join the family for bread and the feast.
Four Cups Of Wine
Four glasses of wine are poured during the Seder to symbolize the four main stages of Exodus that led Hebrew slaves to the promised land of freedom. These stages were:
The glasses of wine were imbibed at different stages of the Seder, the fourth one sealing the Seder festivities.
Passing The Matzah
Matzah is the traditional unleavened bread, and is an important part of the Seder feast. The Matzah is broken down into three parts, with the first part consumed and the third part put back in a white cloth. The second part is called Afikoman and is generally used to entertain the children and keep them awake through the Seder proceedings. Each person is required to have the Matzah and it is customary to pass down the bread from hand to hand to all those sitting at the table. The third part is consumed for dessert at a later stage after all the feasting.
The Four Questions
There is a custom during the Passover, which says - all those sitting at the Seder table must ask the four important questions. It is necessary for everyone present at the table to partake in this event and chant in unison. The four questions are as follows:
Haggadah And The Ten Plagues Of Egypt
The Haggadah is the Jewish text that narrates the story of the Exodus. It is a custom to read out and recount the horrors of the past and how the Jews were liberated by Moshe/Moses from the clutches of a tyrannical empire that bound the Jews in slavery. All those present at the table were asked to pay attention and at times, the story would be enacted for better effect. After the narration of the Haggadah, the ten plagues of Egypt would also be recited, spilling a drop of wine in a bowl for every plague explained. This would be done by the elders of the family. It is said that when the reciter recites the ten plagues, nobody looks into his or her eyes and tries to avert any sort of direct contact because of the impact of the plagues and the destruction it caused in the past. This would then be followed by some singing and prayers.
The Passover customs reflect the ethnic traditions of the Jews and make us believe how important the festival is to the Israelis. The people of Jerusalem and all the other Jews around the world adhere to the customs every year and pray for a better Passover the next year. The customs and beliefs act like foundations that knit the families closer to each other. Highly traditional, this is the one holiday that fills their eyes with a better hope for the future, thanking the ancestors who gave up their lives for the present.
The most important holiday in the calendar of the Jews is the one that marks the Passover. This day falls on the 15th day of 'Nisan' month and is celebrated with grandeur and a lavish display of food. Perhaps, the most important Passover tradition is the feast known as 'Seder'. The Seder is performed by Jews all over the world marking the end of bad times and celebrating their freedom from Egypt. A traditional feast consisting
The sight of the finest table settings and silverware with delicious delicacies served can make anyone hungry. Jews give importance to the laws and customs of this festivity and organize the Passover Seder plate accordingly. 'Seder' which means 'order' is based on the Biblical verse. This ritual of feast is performed either by gathering multiple communities, generations or families
The prime focus of the Jewish customs is the Passover Seder. The plate that is referred to as the Seder plate comprises symbolic foods and is placed at the center of the table. The six meaningful elements in the plate add due importance to the occasion. During the Passover Seder, the elders recite the story of the exodus of Jews from Egypt where they survived as slaves.
Without wine, Passover Seder is almost incomplete. The four cups of wine that the Jews drink during the Seder holds tremendous significance. As one may already know, Passover is commemorated to mark the freedom of Hebrew slaves from Egyptian despotism. Though the Seder plate comprises of several other symbolic foods like maror, charoset, karpas, zeroah, beitzah and matzot, the four cups of undiluted wine served at the Seder
Yes, of course Seder is not the only element in Passover, but is surely the shining star of the festival. Jews wait eagerly every year for this joyous occasion. Set the table such that it seems appealing to all the enthralling eyes. This festival is celebrated to honor the release of the Hebrew slaves from the enslavement of the ancient Egypt. A seven to eight days celebration, Passover begins with the Seder meal on the eve of the Hebrew month of Nisan.