What is Seder?


Quick Answer

Seders are one of the main focal events of the Passover holiday observance; this is an elaborate ritualistic meal that includes the recitation of certain religious texts and the consumption of symbolic foods, which is a way for Jewish people and their friends to memorialize the events depicted in the Old Testament story of Exodus. The word "seder" literally translates to "order," and while this is a celebratory event that involves eating, the process of conducting a traditional seder requires certain steps be taken, which include kiddush, or blessing a cup of wine, and eating an appetizer known as karpas.

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What is Seder?
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Full Answer

The traditional seder is steeped in ritual and tradition, though each family or other group may have a unique addition or alteration to the process. Families, religious organizations and individuals who are hosting a seder will usually use a formal religious text known as the Haggadah as a sort of checklist or guide for the meal. The Haggadah is read throughout the seder; this text includes information about why certain steps are taken and also explicitly lays out the actions and process that should be taken during the meal. Some seders are more casual than others and may be more about a celebratory meal than a strict religious process.

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