The Tradition of Passover That I Grew to Learn


PassoverThe anxiety I felt was comparable to walking into a college classroom three minutes late. The moment you notice your professor and other students’ eyes staring down at you. As I prepped for this very different situation, my chest pumped with the same sort of adrenaline. But this time, I was walking into my very first Passover Sedar. My soon-to-be husband and I found ourselves at the “kids’ table,” even though we were in our early twenties.

{Full disclosure: the kids’ table is actually more fun than the adults’ table- more laughs, jokes, and stories.}

My First Passover Experience

This was the moment that my love and understanding of Passover came to light. My future husband’s cousins welcomed me with open arms and began to make me feel at home. As I took my turn in reading a paragraph in the Haggadah story, I, of course, got a word that is often mispronounced, “omnipotent,” as it is a word that I was not familiar with reading. As with some things in life, we never forgot our first experience.

Jewish Holidays

Passover is a sacred holiday as it commemorates the liberation of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt. First, let me start by saying that I did not grow up celebrating Passover. Before marrying my husband, we had many discussions about the importance of celebrating the Jewish holidays. He explained to me how he would like to celebrate the various holidays and the meaning behind them. I also took a religious course for 6 months before we got married to expand my knowledge further. This allowed me to better under the holidays and their significance within our family that we would be embarking on through our marriage.

In preparation for our annual celebration, we often travel to an extended family member’s home. We have a “kids” table, which my husband and I used to sit at. We briefly graduated and got to sit with the older adults until we had our own children. It is an evening filled with lots of organized chaos, tons of delicious food, and usually, the wine is flowing.

The Haggadah

Before the food is served, we sit down as a family and read the Haggadah. The Haggadah is a story that sets the order of the Passover Seder and reads the story of the liberation of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt. Traditionally, everyone goes around the table, taking turns reading a paragraph or a page. During the reading, there is also a part where the youngest person asks the “Four Questions.”

In recent years this is usually done by the “youngest” cousin, who happens to be in her late 20s, but the torch has now been passed to my oldest daughter, who can now read.

No Bread

The one thing I quickly learned about Passover is the custom of not eating any bread (or bread products). I thought to myself, “How can I survive without any bread, pasta, and other various foods in my home?”

The importance behind this tradition dates back through history. But similar to other cultures, willpower becomes very necessary. Many other religions have similar practices with various foods and even fasting for particular holidays. Having the power to set your mind to something can be a challenge, but also, in my opinion, a big accomplishment.

New Appreciation

My personal experience has taught me to appreciate learning other traditions and holidays. I have learned about the history of Passover and why it has been an important holiday celebrated in my husband’s family. And now it is incorporated into our family. We have been able to take this knowledge and teach our daughters the meaning of Passover and how it’s important to celebrate within our family. After all, traditions matter.


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