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Explaining The Passover Seder!

Written by Katie Marzullo. Published: April 05 2023
As I'm sure y'all know, this week is the Jewish holiday of Passover, and you have probably seen countless postings on your various socials from friends about attending a Seder dinner. For those of you of the non-Jewish persuasion -- like me -- you might be wondering what exactly this is. I'm curious myself. Let's find out together, shall we?


So, the Seder is actually a feast that marks the beginning of Passover.


A feast? Sounds good, do go on!


Oh, but this is not your casual sit-down dinner. It's a highly detailed ritual that has been observed over countless centuries and remains one of the most widely celebrated of the Jewish holidays all over the world. Both the table and the participants are dressed in their very best. The family gathers for the retelling of the Jewish liberation from slavery and Exodus from Egypt. Basically, this holiday is a celebration of freedom -- something we can all get behind, right?


So where does the feast part come in?


The foods served at the Seder are all symbolic and are served on a special Seder Plate. They are:MarorandChazeret(bitter herbs such as horseradish root or romaine lettuce),Charoset(a paste made of fruit and nuts),Karpas(non-bitter veggies like celery or potatoes),Zeroa(roasted leg of lamb), andBeitzah(a roasted whole egg). The foods are eaten individually at different points in the Seder ceremony. One thing you won't find on a Seder plate, though, is bread or any sort of grains that can be leavened or fermented. These are forbidden during the Passover holiday as a reminder of how the Israelites fled Egypt with unrisen dough in their packs.


But it's not just for the Jewish peeps either! Part of the tradition is to invite outsiders to the meal to share the experience with them. Even some Christian sects have incorporated the Seder into their own observances. President Obama was known to hold Passover Seders at the White House.


Plenty of celebrities observe the holiday as well. Last year, Mayim Bialik signed off of all social media for the entire 8-day duration of the holiday, Idina Menzel hosted a "Recipe For Change" YouTube event, Josh Gad spent the holiday with his bff Seth Gabel, Tiffany Haddish posted a video of herself singing traditional Hebrew songs during her Seder, and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff held a Seder at the Vice President's Residence for his and VP Kamala Harris's staffers!


So, to all our Jewish readers out there -- Chag Pesach Sameach! And please invite me to your next Seder!