Monday, April 18, 2011

Happy Passover

One of my favorite times of year is here! It's Passover! While most of the world is getting ready for Easter, Jewish people start the Passover festival tonight. Since Passover is my absolute favorite holiday, I thought I would take today to share with you a little bit about what the holiday is about. 

What is Passover?
Passover is an eight day celebration that commemorates the Israelites emancipation from slavery in ancient Egypt. It is a chance for us to remember that we as a people were once enslaved and be thankful for our freedom. Furthermore, I believe it is also a time for us to remember the people in today's world who are not free and that it is our duty to promote freedom for all.

How do you celebrate Passover? 
The main celebration of Passover is with a Seder, a big traditional meal during which you tell the story of how Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt. Everyone at the table receiving a Haggadah, a liturgy that describes in detail the story of the exodus from Egypt, and we go around the table and take turns reading the story aloud.

If you are curious about what a Passover Haggadah looks like, I encourage you to download this free version. This is what Neill and I used when we hosted our own Seder last year.

While reading the story, there are a variety of traditional things we eat. For example, we eat matzah to commemorate the unleavened bread the Israelites ate because they had to leave Egypt in such a hurry and bitter herbs (called maror), like horseradish, as a symbolic remembrance of the bitterness of slavery. One of my favorite traditional foods is charoset, a mixture of minced apple, nuts, and wine that resembles the mortar Jews used in their labor in ancient Egypt. There is nothing more delicious than a matzah, horsradish, and charoset sandwich. Wine is also a big part of the Seder and at various points throughout the Haggadah we are instructed to refill our wine glasses. Besides these symbolic foods, at the end of the Seder we also  eat a big family dinner with matzah ball soup and brisket.

Photo by Lara Ferroni, via epicurious

Matzah Ball Soup, via 

 President Obama at a Seder, via the huffington post

I hope you've enjoyed reading a little bit about my favorite holiday! This year, Neill and I are going to a Seder at my mother's house. I'll be sure to share pictures next week. Do you celebrate passover or have you ever been to a Passover Seder before? What was the experience like for you?  What is your favorite holiday?



  1. We celebrate! I am not going to lie, I HATE gafelta fish. With a passion. I love everything else though!

  2. I didn't even realize you were Jewish! Awesome! lol. I've never celebrated Passover, but I'm familiar with the scriptures related to it. I guess I'm unlikely to be invited to a Sedar... considering I'm not Jewish, but I wouldn't be opposed to it! I don't really have a favorite holiday, but my favorite time of year is Fall! I love when the trees change colors and the smell of dead leaves wafting in the air.

  3. Hey Alisha! I just came across your blog recently and it's great to hear how great you're doing. But, Passover is my favorite holiday too! Among all the other things we've had in common over the years, I never knew about our shared love of Passover. Happy Pesach!

    - Olivia

  4. Thanks for sharing your passover traditions! I've always wondered what Passover was about.

  5. Thanks so much for sharing - this was really interesting! Happy holidays to you :)

  6. Megan - So exciting to meet another MOT! I must admit, I kind of love gefilte fish once a year :) I know its not everyone cup of tea though. haha.

    Jessica - We always have a few non-Jews at our Seder! So if you're ever in Chicago around this time consider yourself invited!

    Olivia - Good to hear from you! I hope you keep in touch!!!

    Annie & Emily - I'm glad that you guys found this interesting :) I hope that I did a good job explaining Passover!

  7. Thank you for sharing your traditions with us, I always like hearing more about the traditions of those who don't celebrate the same things I do. Kind of makes me feel like I'm missing out a little!

  8. What a beautiful holiday! & the food sounds delicious : ) I love that Jewish holidays are so family- and culturally-oriented.

    I'm seriously considering making that Matzah Ball Soup now... yum.

  9. I'm so glad my haggadah was helpful to you -- thanks for sharing word of it here! And I hope your Pesach this year has been sweet.

  10. I LOVE Passover too! I wrote a bit about the way my wackadoo family does it over at my blog:

  11. I haven't been to a Passover seder in years, but my family used to go to a friend's seder every year - they'd hide multiple afikoman for the kids to find :)

    PS Thanks for stopping by my blog!


Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. Every comment brings a smile to my face!