Passover dinner is rich in tradition

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Passover seder plate
The traditional Passover seder plate
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Ensure your Passover dinner is a success

The Passover dinner is a traditional staple of Jewish culture. Passover, called Pesach in Hebrew, is always in March or April and commemorates the escape of the Jews from slavery in Egypt.

The Passover dinner is generally in two halves. The first part is the traditional seder, which is not a conventional meal. It is when a plate (“the seder plate”) of spiritually and historically significant food items are placed in front of you and you read from the Haggadah, the Passover prayer book. The Haggadah contains stories and prayers and explains when to eat the food items and when to take a sip of kosher wine.

Once this part of the evening has concluded, a more conventional dinner then follows. This often includes matzah ball soup as the appetizer. The entrée is often a meat dish such as brisket.

To have the perfect Passover dinner, you really do need to know how many guests will be in attendance ahead of time. This will help you know how many seder plates to prepare and how many Haggadahs to have on hand. While guests can share the books, this part of the evening can be long and it is ideal for everyone to have their own copy.

Next, you need to be sure you have all of the supplies for the seder plate, in addition to a seder plate for each guest. Be sure to prepare the seder plates well before guests arrive so you have time to cook the actual meal. The traditional seder plate contains:
* Baytzah. This is a hardboiled egg and represents the festival sacrifice that was offered at the holy Temple of Jerusalem.
* Karpas. This is a vegetable that is not bitter. Parsley is usually used, but celery or a boiled potato can be used as well. The vegetables represent the simple diet the Jews had to eat while enslaved in Egypt, and they are dipped in saltwater at the seder, which represents tears.
* Charoset. This sweet mixture of cinnamon, chopped nuts, wine and apples is brown and thick, and represents the mortar that the Jewish slaves used in order to build Egypt’s storehouses.
* Zeroa. This is a roasted shankbone or neck of poultry. This represents the lamb that was sacrificed at the Holy Temple and eaten for Passover in ancient times.
* Maror. This is bitter herbs, and prepared horseradish or a horseradish root can be used. It represents the bitterness of the life of slavery that the Israelites suffered in Egypt.
* Chazeret. This is a bitter vegetable, usually lettuce or celery. However, the chazeret is option and often replaced with a dish of saltwater.

No leavened bread is eaten during Passover. Instead, matzah, which is flat and unrisen bread, is eaten on Passover. It is served at the Passover dinner, and tastes incredible with charoset spread on top of it! Be sure to buy several boxes and place them throughout the table. Or, for a nicer touch, place them in a bread basket with a cloth over it.

Now that you know what you need to prepare, you can have a successful Passover dinner!

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