It is said that in every generation we are meant to see ourselves as if we had personally experienced the Exodus from Egypt. The themes of Passover are timeless and universal: freedom, hope, and renewal. In different corners of the world, Jews have found unique ways to bring the famous story to life.
If you are a guest at a seder in Iran or Afghanistan, before you sing Dayenu, be ready for the person next to you to playfully hit you with a scallion, re-enacting what it meant to be a slave.
If you find yourself celebrating Passover with a friend from Gibraltar, know that their charoset, in addition to the symbolic mortar made of fruit and nuts, might also contain real brick dust.
In some interpretations of the story of Exodus, it was said the Egyptians were so eager for the Israelites to leave Egypt and end the plagues, that they even gave their precious metals to the Israelites to entice them to leave quickly. If you are invited to a seder in Hungary, you will be dazzled by all the family’s silver and gold jewelry decorating the table.
Check out Kar-Ben’s classic Passover Around the World for more customs.
On Passover, we celebrate our freedom and remember times in history when Jews -and others - were not free. And we acknowledge that even today, some are not free. In Inquisition-era Spain, Raquela and her parents must find a way to celebrate Passover in secret. Read about their very special, and unusual, night in Raquela’s Seder. For more Passover titles visit https://www.karben.com/Passover.
Passover begins on Friday night, April 15.