At Home Seder Dinner
If you are interested in doing your own Passover Seder at home this year, here are some explanations and instructions to get started!
First, What is Passover?
Passover is the time when God commanded His people to celebrate when He rescued them from their slavery in the land of Egypt. (You can read about it in the book of Exodus in the Bible). Passover is also significant for Christians because Jesus’ Last Supper was a Passover Seder (pronounced: Say-dur). This is a holiday Jesus would have celebrated every year of His life.
Celebrating Passover helps us understand the words of Jesus at the Last Supper, and it brings new and deeper significance for us as we prepare for Easter.
How to Prepare for Passover
As Christians celebrating Passover, there’s a lot to learn about this ancient tradition. If you choose to do a Passover Seder meal at home, you can go all out or you can keep it simple. We’ll give you all the instructions here, and you can decide what will work best for you and your family and friends.
Passover is a joyful, fun holiday! Invite interested family and friends to celebrate with you. A Passover Seder purposely involves children in the questions and activities. However, the liturgy (or order) of the Seder meal can last awhile, so kids may want to jump in and out of the meal if they are young and need to get their wiggles out!
An official Passover Seder always includes a full meal. If you’re up for it, you can make a meal or invite people to potluck with you! (If you’re wanting to just learn about the elements of Passover, then you can skip the meal and just prepare a Seder plate.) As Christians celebrating Passover, we don’t need to be strict about kosher regulations like Jewish people would be. However, if you want to be a bit more authentic, you might make sure you avoid dairy in your meal if you are eating meat. Or, if you forego meat, then bring in the dairy!
The most important aspect of Passover is that you try to avoid leaven, which is yeast that is used in dough. Most breads, cakes, crackers, cookies, etc. contain leaven. We avoid leaven at Passover because God specifically says to (Exodus 12). When God rescued the Israelites, they left Egypt so fast that they didn’t have time for their bread to rise!
During a Passover Seder, you eat specific things to remind you of God’s rescue from slavery in Egypt. These items are presented on a Seder plate (a large plate or platter). For your Seder plate you will need:
- A small bowl of saltwater
- Sprigs of parsley
- Horseradish or fresh radish
- Matzah bread*
Optional Items for the Seder Plate:
- A boiled egg (This was a later addition to the Seder plate and represents the temple in Israel. It’s not mentioned in our Seder booklet).
- Charoset – this is a tasty mixture of apples, cinnamon and juice that represents the bricks that the Israelites made while slaves in Egypt. It’s delicious on matzah bread. (You can find a charoset recipes here: Charoset Recipe)
- Roasted bone (The bone represents the lamb that is slain during Passover. If you don’t have a bone, you can use a lamb stuffy or photo of a lamb as a reminder!)
Set your table as simply or lavishly as you like! The items your table will need to have:
- 2 candles (You will light them during the Passover Seder)
- Seder plate with the items on it
- Place setting for each person
- Glass with grape juice or wine for each person (You will sip from your glass at four distinct times throughout the night.)
- Afikoman. The Afikoman is a small reward (toy, money or candy) that you will hide and retrieve at a certain point in the seder.
- Matzah bread* You will need three squares of matzah bread wrapped in a large fabric or paper napkin.
- Passover Haggadah. The Haggadah is the order of service for the Passover. (It is available for you here.) Every person participating will need a copy of the Haggadah so they can read along and recite things during the Seder. You will need to assign the following parts:
- Leader: This person has the most reading and will also try to sound out the Hebrew words if they want!
- Instructor: This person will have the second largest reading part. They explain the Christian significance of the Seder.
- Adult #1, Adult #2, Adult #3, Adult #4: Small reading parts at specific points in the Haggadah.
- Child #1, Child #2, Child #3, Child #4: These sections can be read by children or adults. Feel free to give people more than one part.
*It may be difficult to find Matzah bread in Red Deer. You can find it in Edmonton at this IGA (map). You can likely find it in Calgary as well. You can also make your own. Find a simple recipe here: Matzah Bread Recipe.