We had Passover dinner (called "seder") at David's mom's house earlier this evening. As with all Jewish holidays, there's a great deal of religious significance represented in the food and prayers. David practiced his Hebrew reading from the "Haggadah", a booklet of instruction and explanation for all the Passover rituals and traditions.
There are very specific objects for this holiday, including a floral centrepiece and lighted candles. A large platter is placed in front of the one conducting the Seder, with the following:
- Three matzohs, placed in the three separate sections of a (a specially designed) Matzoh Cover, or in the folds of a large napkin
- roasted shankbone
- a roasted egg
- bitter herbs, cut into small pieces, or ground horseradish
- charoses, a mixture of nuts, apple and cinnamon, finely chopped and mixed with a little wine
- parsley, lettuce or watercress, cut into small pieces.
The following are placed on the table for the participants:
- One or more dishes of salt water, depending on the number of participants
- a wine goblet in front of each place; a large goblet, filled with wine, at the centre of the table -- this is the Cup of Elijah
- if desired, for convenience, extra dishes of bitter-herbs and charoses can be placed on the table.
A pillow or cushion is placed on the left arm of the chair used by the Leader, or on another chair close to it.
Well, this being 2005, we didn't follow the instructions of the Haggadah to the letter, but we did indulge in a lot of Kosher DESSERTS!
David's mom also gave us a Passover card (yes, Hallmark covers Jewish holidays, too), which is that little blue corner of paper sticking out underneath the top layer of matzoh brei in the upper left photo. She mentioned that children are supposed to go look for hidden "gifts", but that isn't mentioned in the Haggadah, so it's probably something someone slipped in to compensate for missing out on chocolate Easter eggs. (Mom edits these traditions as suits her, says David.)
Here's what's on the cover of the card:
A Seder Plate for the New Millennium
(clockwise from the top)
Egg (Beaters): cholesterol-free alternative
Greens: stir-fried with a little low-sodium soy sauce
(Gourmet Greek) Charoset: apples, pine nuts, balsamic vinegar, grape leaves
(Jalapeno) Matzah with sun-dried tomatoes
Bitter Herb: Espresso
(Vegetarian) Shank Bone: tofu-on-a-stick