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Since we have started our Fairy Tales in Different Cultures on Mondays, I have not had any other Multicultural Mondays. So in honor of Passover starting last night, I thought I would share a bit about Passover. Having grown up in a town that had a large percent of Jewish residents I have many friends who celebrate Passover.
A Little History:Passover is the holiday festival that Jewish people remember when God saved them from slavery in Egypt 3,300 years ago. The story is found in the book of Exodus in both the Christian Bible and the Hebrew Bible. The book of Exodus includes how the Pharaoh enslaved the Jewish people and killed the males as well as the birth of Moses and how he was saved. Then how Moses and God led the Jews to freedom. The Bible tells that God helped the Jews escape slavery in Egypt by inflicting ten plagues upon the ancient Egyptians before the Pharaoh would release his Israelite slaves; the tenth and worst of the plagues was the death of the Egyptian first-born. The Israelites were instructed to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a spring lamb and, upon seeing this, the spirit of the Lord knew to pass over the first-born in these homes, hence the name of the holiday. When the Pharaoh freed the Jews, it is said that they left in such a hurry that they could not wait for bread dough to rise. For the duration of Passover no leavened bread is eaten. Matzo (flat unleavened bread) is a symbol of the holiday. (Source)
Celebrating Passover:To celebrate Passover, first one must cleanse the house of all leavening products (chametz). Many Jewish families will clean their house completely to ensure there is not a speck of chametz left in it. Many families also have a separate set of dishes for Passover as to not chance having any chametz residue during a meal from a plate.
|Seder Plate (Source)|
It is traditional for a family to gather on the first night of Passover for a Seder (a special dinner). During the Seder the story of the Exodus from Egypt is told using a special text called the Haggadah. (Source) Seder customs include drinking four glasses of wine, eating matzo, partaking in symbolic foods on the Seder plate and celebrating freedom. There are six items on the Seder plate. An egg represents the sacrifice offered at the Jerusalem Temple. The shank bone symbolizes the lamb sacrificed at the Temple in Jerusalem. The bitter herb symbolizes the bitterness of slavery. Charoset/Haroses a sweet brown paste made of fruit and nuts symbolizes the mortar used to build the Egyptian store houses. Lettuce or Chazeret is Romaine lettuce or grated horseradish also symbolizing the bitterness of slavery. Parsley which is dipped into salt water which stands for hope and new life and the salt water for the tears of the Jewish slaves. (Sources: Wikipedia and Passover Magic by Roni Schotter)
Children play an important role in the Seder. The youngest child present has the important job of asking the four questions.
Why is this night different from all other nights?During the Seder the questions are answered by the adults reading the Haggadah. (Source: Passover Magic by Roni Schotter)
Why on this night do we eat only matzoh?
Why on this night do we eat bitter herbs?
Why on this night do we dip parsley into salt wter and bitter herbs into haroses?
Why on this night do we recline at the table?
I wanted to find a way to introduce Passover to Hazel. For her age I decided on some story books. When we were at the library, I had her pick out a few books that looked good to her in the Passover section. Here are her choices.
These stories are wonderful ways to show how to celebrate the holiday. If you do not read the author's notes you will not learn the history of the holiday. I am not sure she is ready for this, so I have not extended it yet, but will at some point.
I hope to also have or attend a Seder with Hazel. The year I got pregnant with her my church held a Seder. I had helped in the planning a bit. I am hoping she will experience it as well at some point. As a Christian it is important to remember the Jewish holidays as well. For our communion comes from Jesus celebrating Passover with his disciples.
I hope I have clearly and correctly stated about Passover and wish all my Jewish readers a very Happy Passover.