A Passover Round-Up: All You Need to Know About This Jewish Holiday

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Carly Steinberg

Feature Image by Carly Steinberg

What is Passover?

Passover is one of my favorite Jewish holidays, as it is a time where all my friends and family come together to share a meal and commemorate an important time in our history. It’s a holiday filled with laughs, matzo jokes, and plenty of Manischewitz wine to go around. On a more serious note, we celebrate Passover to commemorate the liberation of the Jewish people from Egypt.

The Sedar table

The Sedar table

The Big Rule

You may oftentimes hear a Jewish person say that they cannot eat this or that because they are fasting - and no, they are not partaking in the latest fad diet. Many Jewish holidays require us to fast in one way or another. During Passover, the big rule is that we are not allowed to eat leavened bread - AKA pretty much any grain product. Rather, we eat unleavened bread which we call Matzo. The story behind this is that while the Jewish people were escaping from Egypt, they did not have time for their bread to fully rise in the oven. So, they escaped with plenty of Matzo and made the best of it.

Chocolate & toffee covered matzo

Chocolate & toffee covered matzo

The Sedar Plate

A Passover dinner is called a Sedar, and there is a specific plate that is put on center stage during this holiday. The Sedar plate is a plate where each of the Jewish symbolic foods is arranged. There are 5 symbolic items on the plate: Maror, Charoset, Karpas, the Shankbone, and a Roasted Egg. The Maror is the bitter herb, horseradish. This bitter herb symbolizes the bitterness the Jewish people went through when they were slaves in Egypt. The Charoset is a sweet combination of apples, cinnamon, walnuts and wine. This delicious concoction represents the brick and mortar that the Jewish people used to build pyramids. The Karpas, symbolized by parsley, represents the hope that the Jewish people had as they were escaping. The parsley is dipped in salt water during the ceremony to represent the sweat and tears that were present at this time. The Shankbone represents the Paschal lamb that was served in the Temple of Jerusalem. It represents the sacrifice that took place that Sedar night long ago. The Roasted Egg also symbolizes sacrifice, but places a strong emphasis on mourning the destruction of the Temple.

Chocolate dipped & decorated coconut macaroons

Chocolate dipped & decorated coconut macaroons

Passover Quick Facts

How long is Passover?

Usually the Sedar takes place the first two nights, but Passover is celebrated for up to 7 or 8 days.

What is the book that is read from during Passover?

The Haggadah

What’s the fun game that is played?

A piece of matzo is broken in half and hidden in the house - which is called the Affi Koman. Whoever finds it gets a prize at the end of the night!

What are some popular desserts eaten on this night?

Chocolate covered matzo and coconut macaroons - yum!

What are some fun and creative meals to make with matzo?

Matzo pizza, matzo brei, matzo ball soup, matzo sandwich…we Jews know how to get creative!

Carly SteinbergComment