Passover tables around the world

Passover tables generally include ceremonial foods representing the Passover sacrifice, the bitterness of slavery, the bread of affliction, and the sweetness of redemption. But communities around the world have used diverse foods and displayed them in diverse ways. This page presents a list of these foods, diagrams of Passover tables, and a slide show of Jews around the world celebrating Passover.

In this time of quarantine, many of us will be conducting seders with limited resources. International Jewish traditions can offer inspiration for symbolic foods. If you don't have horseradish, you can use celery bottom or radish as the maror, which were used in Jewish communities in Greece and Uzbekistan. If you don't have parsley, then potato (Europe) or zucchini (Algeria) can serve as symbols of spring and rebirth. For charoset, you can use any combination of fruits and nuts. If you don't have any appropriate foods you can use, a picture will suffice. The seder might not taste or smell the same, but you'll have a similar experience of thinking and talking about symbolism and the Exodus story.

Foods that Jewish communities around the world have used for the Passover table

Information from Too Good to Passover: Sephardic & Judeo-Arabic Seder Menus and Memories from Africa, Asia and Europe, by Jennifer Felicia Abadi:

Karpas: curly parsley, flat-leaf parsley, celery stalk, celery leaves, celery bottom, chard, lettuce, green fava beans, zucchini, sorrel, scallion, cucumber, parsnip greens, boiled potato, shredded beets (with lemon, sugar, and salt).

Haroset: many mixtures of fruits and nuts. See examples here.

Zeroah: lamb shank bone (with or without meat on it), piece of lamb liver or lung, meat stew, roasted chicken wing or leg, roasted goat leg, turkey leg, calf bone; vegetarian versions: (paschal) yam, red beet.

Maror/Hazeret: horseradish root, horseradish with beet juice and vinegar, endive, radish (with black pepper), romaine lettuce, collard greens, parsley leaves, watercress, spring onions, ginger root, coriander leaves, bok choi, dandelion greens, frisée, chicory root, arugula, parsnip, celeriac, celery root, escarole.

Egg: hard boiled or roasted egg, often browned with onion skins, a black tea bag, or coffee grounds, olive oil, vinegar, saffron; vegan versions: flower, mushroom, rice.

Liquid representing tears and sweat of enslaved Israelites: vinegar (white, red, wine, cider, etc.), lemon juice, lime juice, lemon juice mixed with salt and zhug.

Matzah: if you have flour and water, you can make your own at home.

 
 

Greek seder plate

Yemenite Passover table

Libyan Passover basket tray ("sabadj")

Bukharian Passover tray ("ke'ara")

American Ashkenazi seder plate, including an orange, which represents the inclusion of marginalized Jews (image and explanation from My Jewish Learning).

 

Images from paintings, illuminated manuscripts, and photos of Jews around the world celebrating Passover. Hover to see captions or click on image to view complete slideshow.

  • Facebook
  • YouTube

Subscribe to learn about events here, and follow us on Facebook and YouTube here:

Copyright © 2002-2020    Jewish Language Website 

To cite: Author name (if available). Page name. Jewish Language Website, Sarah Bunin Benor (ed.). Los Angeles: Jewish Language Project. Web address (jewishlanguages.org/**).

Last update: 2020-11-9

HUC Jewish Language Project logo.jpg
Santa Fe, NM, 2016

Colombian Gloria Abella Ballen, who immigrated from Bogotá to Santa Fe, NM, prepares a Sephardic seder. santafenewmexican.com