Holiday Tradition – Jewish

Religious Holiday Tradition

The Passover Seder – Jewish

My dad’s Jewish family observed this tradition during the mid 1900s. The Passover Seder is a very ritualized Jewish dinner during the first two nights of Passover. The first born, oldest male child of the family, my dad’s older brother, would read holy scripts while the family ate at designated times. Certain things were to be eaten during certain parts of the script. For example, bitter herbs were eaten during the bitter parts of the story.

There were strict rules— nobody could be sitting straight at the table, all must be leaning. For the more religious families, this process could take many hours. The more casual families, like my dad’s, would take shortcuts and skip parts of the script.

My dad remembers this ritual as very tedious. He used to get bored and extremely hungry while listening to the script. However, he enjoyed the hunt for a hidden matzah (unleavened bread) after the meal, because the person who discovered it would get a prize.

Other foods eaten during the traditional Seder include: Charoset, a mixture of chopped nuts, wine, cinnamon, and apples, which symbolizes mortar the Jews used for bricks; Karpas, a vegetable dipped in salt water to symbolize tears; Maror, bitter vegetables eaten to symbolize the bitterness of slavery; and matzah, the traditional unleavened bread symbolizing the poor man’s food. The scripts are from the Haggadah, a book which tells of the Jewish exodus from Egypt.

While I can understand that this tradition can be extremely lengthy and dull, especially for children, it seems very integral to the Jewish religion. Because my family does not recognize any strict religious traditions like this, hearing about the Passover Seder was intriguing. I find it to be a creative and respectful way to commemorate the suffering of one’s ancestors.