Almost every Passover Seder, the ritual dinner, includes various foods set out on a seder plate. Nothing on the Seder table is selected randomly; each item has its purpose and often its specific place on the table or Seder plate. Each of the six traditional items arranged so on the plate has special significance to the retelling of the story of the Exodus from Egypt.
The six traditional items on the Seder Plate are as follows:
- Maror: Any bitter herb will work, though either horseradish or romaine lettuce is frequently used. The Maror is placed in the center of the plate, which represents the attribute of rachamim, mercy.
- Chazeret: The Chazeret is a second bitter herb, most often romaine lettuce, but people also use the leafy greens of a horseradish or carrot plant. The symbolism is the same as that of Maror.
- Charoset: This is traditionally made from chopped nuts, grated apples, cinnamon, and sweet red wine. A sweet, brown mixture representing the mortar used by the Hebrew slaves to build the storehouses or pyramids of Egypt.
- Karpas: It is customary to use raw onion, parsley, celery, or boiled potato, which is dipped into salt water at the beginning of the Seder. The dipping of a simple vegetable into salt-water represents the tears and sweat from pain felt by the Hebrew slaves in Egypt.
- Z’roa: This is the only element of meat on the Seder plate. A roasted lamb or goat shankbone is used, symbolizing the korban Pesach (Passover), which was a lamb that was offered in the Temple in Jerusalem, then roasted and eaten as part of the meal on Seder night.
- Beitzah: A roasted hard-boiled egg, symbolizing the korban chagigah, which was offered in the Temple in Jerusalem and roasted and eaten as part of the meal on Seder night. The chagigah is commemorated by an egg, a symbol of mourning, evoking the idea of mourning over the destruction of the Temple and the inability to offer any kind of sacrifices in honor of the Pesach (Passover) holiday.
We hope this explanation of foods present on the seder plate helps enhance your Passover! For further enhancement, don’t forget to buy your Passover Bingo Game!