Passover is a Jewish holiday celebrating the Hebrews' escape from Egyptian enslavement. Celebrated in March or April, Passover begins with an elaborate meal, called Seder, and continues for seven days.
The Seder plate is a special plate used during the Passover feast. There are six foods showcased on the Seder plate, each with a special meaning to the Jewish faith: bitter herbs to represent the enslavement in Egypt; a sweet brown mixture to signify the mortar they used to build storefronts for the Egyptians; a vegetable and salt water used for dipping to signify the pain of the enslavement; an animal bone (usually lamb) to symbolize the lamb sacrificed at the Temple of Jerusalem; and a hard-boiled egg, also representing a sacrifice at the Temple of Jerusalem.
Once the main course is over, it's time for dessert. As long as the sweet treat is kosher, the sky's the limit on what you can serve.
This traditional drawing illustrates the four questions asked during Seder, although they're not really questions at all. They're more statements of how the Passover Seder works. They are: On all nights we need not dip even once, on this night we do so twice! On all nights we eat chametz or matzah, and on this night only matzah. On all nights we eat any kind of vegetables, and on this night maror! On all nights we eat sitting upright or reclining, and on this night we all recline!
During each the four questions, Seder participants drink a glass of wine. The Elijah Cup is the traditional goblet used.
People of various faiths and nationalities attend an interfaith Passover celebration at the home of Sharona Shapiro on April 5, 2004, in West Bloomfield, Mich. Shapiro, the Michigan area director of the American Jewish Committee, held the function in an effort to reach out to non-Jewish people, and invited guests who were Muslim, Polish, Hindu, Chaldean, African American, Nigerian as well as Japanese.
The rest of the seven-day observance of Passover is truly a celebration, with festivals, parties and dinners. The Boombamela festival caters to 20-somethings in Israel and boasts rock concerts and yoga sessions. To learn more, check out this Passover Foods page.