The Jewish holiday of Passover, began at sundown March 30th. It starts with a ritual meal called a Seder and the reading of the Haggadah, recalling the Exodus from Egypt. The story tells how Moses confronting Pharoah and lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. In Exodus 12, God commands the Israelites to commemorate this with a festival. It is about remembering history. The Seder is held on the first and second nights of Passover, but it is an eight-day Jewish holiday.
Preparing for Passover means cleaning out your home and removing all leaven, such as bread, rice, flour and yeast, eating only kosher foods. Unleavened bread symbolizes the urgency in which the Jews left Egypt – there was no time to wait for bread to rise.
A lamb shank bone is symbolic. In the 10th plague, the one that convinced Pharoah to let the Israelites go, God killed the firstborn male of every household in Egypt. In order to be spared, the Israelites were instructed to kill a Passover lamb and smear its blood on the door posts so the angel of death would pass over.
Green vegetables are a symbol of renewal; a boiled egg, a Passover sacrifice and rebirth; a mixture of apples and nuts called haroset symbolizes the mortar for bricks made by Jewish slaves during slavery in Egypt and maror, a bitter herb symbolic of the bitterness of captivity.
A cup of ritual wine is consumed at four different points in the meal, and a fifth, ceremonial cup, called Elijah’s cup, is left for the prophet Elijah, who according to tradition is liable to drop in on a Seder.
In a month of holiday’s where we have been spared, forgiven and blessed, it is nice to remember it’s origins.