The biggest Jewish ceremony at home is the Passover Seder
As I wrote before, my husband is Jewish.
However, in his family, only his niece is orthodox. She keeps a Kosher home for her family.
Others in my husband’s family are not orthodox, but still, they celebrate various ceremonies during the year.
We visited the husband’s sister’s house to celebrate the Jewish holiday called “Passover”.
This eight-day holiday of Passover is celebrated in the early spring, from 15th through the 22nd
of the Hebrew the month of Nissan.
This year it started on April 19th and lasted until April 27th.
The holiday occurs at different dates every year because the Hebrew calendar is based on the moon,
while the common calendar is based on the sun.
Jewish people celebrate this ceremony on both the first night and the second night of the eight days of Passover.
The dinner and the ceremony are called “Seder”.
This Seder has many meanings and is very important for Jewish people.
When did Passover start?
Actually, I did not know why the celebration happens and when did it start?
This ceremony is based on the Old Testament.
Moses was chosen by God, and then he saved Jewish people from slavery in Egypt.
The meaning of the holiday is to remember this history.
And this word “Pass Over” comes from the Old Testament.
When I was an elementary student, I watched an old movie “Ten Commandments”
Probably, if you watched this movie, then you remember that God told Moses to send a message to
the king to release Jewish people from slavery and make them free.
However, the king refused God’s command.
Then, God became mad and sent upon Egypt ten devastating plagues, afflicting them and destroying
God visited the last of the ten plagues on the Egyptians, killing all their firstborn sons.
Moses marked each Jewish family’s house’s door in a way that God could recognize, so he would know
which are the Jewish families.
So the sons of the Jewish families survived.
The plague of death passed over them.
The word Passover comes from this story.
How to celebrate Passover?
The first night and the second night of Passover is celebrated with ceremonial dinner called a “Seder”.
These ceremonial dinners are performed using a book called “Haggadah”.
This book, among other things, describes in detail the story of the Exodus from Egypt.
And also it has an important meaning for the enlightenment of Jewish children about how Jewish people
survived from Egypt and were freed from slavery.
This Haggadah is written in English and Hebrew as well.
For the beginning, the mother lights candles and says a blessing.
Candles lit by the mother brings warmth and peace in the family.
Then the father starts the ceremony and he leads everybody in reading the Haggadah.
The complete ceremony includes drinking red wine or grape juice at four different times.
The purpose of the ceremony is to remember the Jewish ancestors who had a terrible time as slaves in Egypt for a long time and then finally they were saved by God.
The first cup: Salvation from harsh labor.
The second cup: Salvation from servitude (slavery).
The third cup: The splitting of the sea, after which Jewish felt completely redeemed without
fear of the Egyptians recapturing them.
The fourth cup: Becoming a nation at Sinai.
These are written in the old testament and Jewish people drink 4 cups of wine or grape juice to thank God for deliverance.
The ceremony continues by reading the story and singing songs.
One of the interesting parts is that the youngest child should ask four questions which start with
this one: “What makes this night different from all others nights?”.
The father answers each question to teach about what happened in the past, and what the Jewish ancestors
did and how wonderful it was for the children to become free.
When I traveled to Israel last summer, I felt that how the Jewish family is great and they have a strong
relationship with respecting their ancestors and teaching their great history to their children.
About food for Passover
Finally, dinner starts.
It takes a long time before we eat dinner so everyone was getting so hungry
Well, before introducing the food, I want to explain about the ceremonial dinner.
It is called a Seder Plate.
The Seder Plate is a special plate which is set in the middle of the table to remember the period of slavery.
There are five items on the plate as above,
・Maro’r：To represent the bitterness of slavery. (Horseradish）
・Haroset: Symbolizing the mortar used to build the pyramid of the Pharaohs. (A paste of fruit and nuts)
・Karpas ：Symbolizing the slaves’ tears.（Parsley and salt water.)
・Zeroah: Symbolizing the ancient Passover sacrifice.（A lamb’s shankbone）
・Beitzah: Symbolizing the temple sacrifice and continuing cycle life.（A roasted egg）
The first time I saw parsley and bone, it felt weird for me.
Why a bone on the plate?
Why dip parsley in salt water?
However, now I understand the meaning and symbolism, and I am appreciating the Jewish people’s history.
Well, during Passover, Jews cannot eat any bread.
Because when Jewish people escaped from Egypt, they were such a hurry that there was no time to
wait for the dough to rise.
Therefore, they ate Matzah, unleavened bread.
This is Matzah.
Break matzah into pieces and eat.
During Passover, Jews cannot keep bread, cake, nor biscuits, which are leavened things, in the house.
So in a family which has children, the parents let them find bread like a game.
Actually, my husband’s niece sent some pictures that kids were finding bread in their house.
I felt Judaism cherishes the relationship of family very much.
This habit has another aspect.
Bread will rise as part of the process to make it. It symbolizes pride.
So observant Jews do not keep any leavened things in the house, which helps get rid of bad luck or evil spirit.
It is like a Japanese tradition called “Oosoji” which means clean the house at the end of the year.
The other special food for Passover which is a mix matzo meal and shortening to make a ball (dumpling),
and served with chicken soup.
It is called “Matzo Ball”
The matzo ball is made from matzo meal which refined from matzo, mixed with water (or cider) and eggs.
Then, you make some small balls and put in a chicken stock soup.
The tase is smooth and simple.
It is easy to cook.
If you are interested in this food, please check this video.
At the Seder dinner, we eat salad and grilled chicken or brisket for the main course.
I wrote about one of the biggest ceremonies, Passover this time.
Respect for ancestors, remembering their history and this ceremony has been handed down to children from
an ancient age.
Jewish people are proud of themselves and remember their history to never forget. I felt a strong relationship between Jewish people.
Thank you for reading my blog today as well!
I would be glad if you pressed the button and sent me a message
If you don’t mind please press the button