Several symbolic foods are eaten during the Passover Seder: Matzo, Haroseth, Beitzah (egg), Maror and or Chazeret, Karpas, Zroa and salt water, in which the Karpas is dipped. It has become a custom to display key symbolic foods of the Passover Seder on a special Passover Seder plate. These plates are often silver plated and have special labeled indentations to accommodate each symbolic food, other than the Matzot and salt water. The Matzot are placed in a separate plat of their own.
Following is a brief explanation of each food:
• Matzoh: Unleavened bread similar to a cracker described above.
• ‘Haroseth: A sweet mixture of crushed nuts, apples, cinnamon, and honey. ‘Haroseth symbolizes the mortar the Israelite slaves in Egypt used in constructing buildings for the Pharaoh. The initial ‘H is sounded from deep in the throat, like the “H” in “Pesa’h.”
• Beitzah (Egg): A hard-boiled egg is used to symbolize the cycle of life and rebirth.
• Maror and/or Chazeret: This is usually very bitter horse-radish that symbolizes the hardships of slavery. Sometimes lettuce or a different vegetable is used as Maror and Chazeret (horseradish) is eaten sepaarate
• Karpas: Usually it is a boiled potato (sometimes lettuce, celery or another vegetable). The symbolic meaning of this vegetable is not clear. Some say it symbolizes the lowly origins of the Jewish people.
• Z’ro’a: This meat, sometimes represented as a shank bone, symbolizes the Paschal lamb sacrificed to save the Israelite first born. Some communities actually sacrifice a lamb.
• Salt Water: The egg and the potato are dipped in salt water, symbolizing both the tears of oppression as well as of joy in freedom.
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