Passover begins today, Friday April 22, 2016, with the first seder. Because Passover is determined by the ancient Hebrew Nissan Calendar (not the Gregorian calendar), the dates change every year. In 2016, Passover will end at nightfall on Saturday, April 30. If you’re attending one of the seder dinners over passover, here are 8 things you need to know. If there’s an overarching theme in these seder tips, it’s that “seder” is Hebrew for “order,” so you need to be ready to follow some rules.
1) Don’t be late: If you are, people will either be waiting for you or feel disrespected. Plus, if you don’t experience the order of the ritual, you’re missing out.
2) Offer to bring something, and DO NOT bring pork, cake, or beer.
3) Dress for your host: If they’re Reform, dress-casual is fine. If they’re Orthodox, you might want to edge towards formal or even ask for advice.
4) Relax and follow your host: Once you arrive in proper attire, you’re in the clear. Your host will guide you through every step of the order.
5) Enjoy the Hebrew: Don’t freak out if you don’t understand Hebrew or if you can’t follow the ins and outs of the Haggadah, the book that tells of the Jews’ Exodus from Egypt. You might be asked to read; just do your best.
6) Get ready to be hungry: Jews starved in the desert for decades. Your tummy might grumble for a few hours.
7) Picky eater? Let it go. Get ready to munch on some really strange stuff:
- Raw parsley (not a garnish!)
- Matzah crackers (probably impossible to eat 7 in one minute)
- Gefilte fish (ironically, the Spam of fish)
- Horseradish (the Jewish equivalent of baked beans?)
8) Get ready for a treasure hunt, especially if you’re a kid.