April 18 marks the first day of Passover, an 8-day festival celebrating the Israelites’ freedom from slavery in ancient Egypt. As with many holidays, Passover is defined by food – and lots of it! By following some of the dining rituals of Passover, those who are celebrating gain an understanding of the suffering and subsequent freedom that their Jewish ancestors experienced. Our web editor, Grace, shares with us some of the dining traditions her family celebrates during this time:
*Maror and chazeret – Bitter herbs symbolizing the bitterness and harshness of slavery.
*Charoset – A mixture of nuts, dates, apples, cinnamon and wine representing the mortar used by the Jewish slaves to build the storehouses of Egypt.
*Karpas – a vegetable dipped into salt water to symbolise tears shed and the pain felt by the Jewish slaves.
*Z’roa – traditionally a roasted lamb or goat shankbone representing the Paschal lamb offered as the Passover sacrifice in the Temple In Jerusalem. The z’roa only serves as a visual reminder of the sacrifice; it is not eaten or handled during the dinner.
*Beitzah – a hard boiled egg symbolizing the festival sacrifice that was offered in the Temple in Jerusalem.