The Passover Seder is a dinner during the Jewish holiday in which the story of the Exodus from Egypt is retold. It is believed that the obligation to tell the story of Exodus was observed by Jews' ancestors ever since the actual Exodus itself. Participation in the Seder lets one symbolically and vicariously relive the Exodus, where past and present merge. The Passover Seder (which means order) is probably the most celebrated and beloved holiday of Jewish home rituals. Those who celebrate the Passover Seder usually read the Haggadah. The Haggadah is a Jewish text that sets forth the order of the Passover Seder. The Haggadah has some songs, prayers, questions and vignettes that the celebrators would read and sing in their dinner. There are a number of symbols that occur throughout the Seder, but perhaps the focal point of the whole event is the Seder plate. The Seder plate usually contains
- a roasted shank bone, symbolizing the Pesach sacrifice in the Temple
- a roasted egg symbolizing either the spring season or mourning (for the destruction of Jerusalem)
- maror (bitter herbs) to represent the bitter experience of the Hebrew slaves
- haroset (a mixture of apples, nuts, raisins, spices, wine) symbolizing the mortar the Hebrew slaves used to build for the Egyptians
- and karpas (parsley, celery, or another green vegetable) symbolizing the green of spring.
Some important objects that should be on the table at a Seder are salt water and The Cup of Elijah. Salt water should be placed in small bowls around the table so guest can use it for dipping karpas in, it also symbolizes the tears shed by the Hebrew slaves.