Passover in its simplest definition is a consecrated holiday celebrated every year by the Jews around the world that reminds Israel of their freedom from bondage and slavery in Egypt.
The prominent Jewish holiday of Passover has many rituals and symbolism that commemorates and points to the entire remarkable story of Israel’s Exodus from Egypt. Passover also mainly centered on the Passover Seder, the ceremonial meal where the Jewish families reads the Haggadah. The food items that are included in the Seder are the integral parts of the retelling of the story of Passover in the Bible.
What are the Symbols of Passover
Ultimately the very symbols of Passover are found in the symbolic Seder plate. There are no establish guidelines and precepts as to how the Seder plate would look though some prefer square plates rather than round ones while others want it to be traditional.
The foods that are placed in the Seder plate are the symbols of Passover. Here are the following:
Matzah is one of the major emblems of the Passover which is also known as the Unleavened Bread. It is also called as the bread of flight, a hard wafer like bread that was cooked without any leavening agent. There are three pieces of matzahs served in the Passover Seder but in a separate plate covered in a table napkin.
These Matzahs are the symbols of the affliction and torment on slavery that Israel had suffered in Egypt and the remembrance of their haste departure. According to the Book of Exodus, the Israelites had no time to prepare for themselves a proper meal to be brought on their journey so they simply grab the dough which is not leaven to be cooked along the way. Matzah is also a symbol of their freedom from bondage and slavery.
MAROR (BITTER HERBS)
The bitter herbs or Maror is a clear symbol of bitterness of slavery that the Jews have experienced in the hands of Pharaoh. It is also a constant reminder to them of the harshness and severity in their lives as slaves. Bitter herbs such as Romaine Lettuce, Horseradish, and Endives are commonly included in the Seder plate.
It is a sweet thick mixture of cinnamon, chopped apples, nuts and wine that symbolizes as the mortar that the Jews used to assemble the bricks during their enslavement.
ZEROAH (SHANK BONE)
The Zeroah is a roasted shankbone of a lamb or poultry. It is sometimes called as the Paschal lamb which is the obvious reminder of the Pesach sacrifice in Jerusalem. It originated from the first Passover in the Bible where an unblemished lamb is slaughtered and its blood is painted on their doorpost so that the destroyer will pass over them. The meat is roasted and eaten in haste.
Nowadays, since the Temple was destroyed, they include it in the plate as a reminder of the sacrificial lamb that was offered in order for them to obtain their freedom and deliverance.
Beitzah is a roasted or hard-boiled egg that represents of the mourning of the first and second destruction of the Temple. This is traditionally a food for mourners and a suitable symbol of loss of a consecrated location.
It is a vegetable, usually a celery parsley or potatoes which is dipped in a salted water or vinegar and eaten. This food symbolizes of the tears of the Jews as slaves in ancient Egypt.