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Ritual of the Passover Seder Filled with Symbolism

Posted April 9, 1998

— Easter isn't the only religious holiday being celebrated this time of year. Millions of Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover beginning at sundown on Friday, April 10.

WRAL's Tracy Wilson went Out and About to learn more about the holiday and its celebration. Rabbi Lucy Dinner of the Temple Beth Or Synagogue in Raleigh says Passover is celebrated in remembrance of the Jewish people's exodus from slavery in Egypt to freedom. It also seals the redemption between the Jewish people and God.

Passover is celebrated over eight days during which Jews eat only unleavened foods. The first two nights are marked with the elaborate ritual of Seder, which is filled with symbolism.

The Seder table is the center of the celebration. A number of symbols are placed on the table, including:

  • Three matzoh
  • A roasted lamb bone, as a remembrance of the time when Jewish ancestors offered a lamb sacrifice for Passover.
  • A roasted egg, in recognition of the celebration of spring.
  • Bitter herbs, which symbolize the bitter slavery suffered in Egypt.
  • Charoset, a mixture of nuts, apples, cinnamon and wine. It's a symbol of the mortar used for making the bricks Jews used to build cities for Pharaoh.
  • Karpas, which is a parsley, lettuce or celery, and symbolizes springtime.

    During the seder, each person at the table gets a cup of wine and is required to drink four times from the cup during the ceremony to commemorate the redemption of the Jewish people from bondage.

    During the remaining six days of Passover, Jews continue to abstain from eating foods with leavening and say special prayers for the springtime to remember the redemption.

    If you're celebrating, happy Passover! If not, wish your Jewish neighbors a blessed holiday. Don't miss Tracy Wilson's Out and About segments Wednesday through Friday mornings at 7:05 on WRAL-TV5

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