Jewish Culture, Passover Seder and Culinary Symbology
What is Passover Seder?
Passover celebrates Biblical Exodus, where Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt.
Symbols of Passover:
- The Haggadah
- Symbolic Foods
- Passover Table Setting
- Questions and Storytelling
1 – The Haggadah – is the book that’s read during the Seder. In Hebrew, the word “Haggadah” means “telling,” as in telling the story of Passover. This book explains the many elements and symbols of Passover including food, wine and ceremonies.
2 – The food is also symbolic. Lamb represents the sacrifice, the egg represents the circle of life, herbs symbolize the bitterness of slavery, haroset (applesauce with wine, nuts, and apples) represents the mortar used in Egypt and parsley represents Spring and restarting.
3 – Table – three pieces of unleavened bread (matzah) represent the bread the Israelites fled with from Egypt. Salt water represents the tears of the slaves.
4 – Wine – The Jewish Torah says at least four cups of wine 9or symbolic wine) should be consumed during the seder. One or two cups of wine are placed on the table for prophet Elijah and Moses’s sister Miriam.
5 – Pillows – Pillows are placed on chairs to signify the act of reclining, being comfortable and free.
6 – Questions – There is a section of the seder where the youngest person asks about the Passover symbols while the elders explain them.
Commemorating their haste to leave Egypt after the killing of first-born children, Jews eat no leavened-bread or grains (“chametz”) for eight days following Passover.
Social Justice Issues and Modern Passover Seder
In modern Passover celebrations, politics, social justice issues and freedom are incorporated. Participants look back on oppressions in Jewish history and recognize all those in society who are still oppressed today.