This last week was Passover and I was gifted with the opportunity to enjoy my first ever Passover Seder with some friends. Having surprisingly never come into contact with any Jewish families before in my life, I knew absolutely nothing about this holiday, but I can sure say I learned a lot.
Passover is a Jewish holiday which commemorates the liberation of the Jews from Egypt and lasts either seven or eight days (depending on your branch of Judaism). Passover Seder is a traditional feast lead by a Jewish text called the Haggadah which divides the night into 15 parts. These 15 sections of the meal include such things as: blessing of the food, retelling of the Exodus, the ceremonial breaking of matzah (unleavened bread), eating maror (bitter herbs), eating the main course, reciting the Hallel, and the conclusion of the meal.
Every part of the meal has symbolic importance behind it. The dipping of karpas (a variety of vegetables) in salt water represents the tears of the Jews during their slavery in Egypt. Exclusively matzah bread (unleavened bread) is allowed at a Passover Seder to honor the fact that the freed Israelites were in such a hurry to leave Egypt that they were unable to wait for bread to rise. It was amazing getting to hear the story of the freed Israelites and even hear my friend and his family sing and read Hebrew script as part of the ceremony of Passover Seder.
I am so thankful that I had the chance to experience a different culture like that for the first time, and I hope I only continue learning about other cultures. Have you ever learned something about a culture you didn’t know anything about?