During the Passover Seder, a sterling silver Seder plate is used to arrange six items which retell the story of the exodus from Egypt. Traditionally, this is the focus of the ritual meal.

Make a Seder plate for Pesach

As with the majority of Jewish festivals, celebrations for Pesach (Passover) are centred around a special meal that is symbolic of the holiday.

The Seder plate

Displayed prominently at the head of the table at Pesach is a Seder plate. It is important because all items on the plate are reminiscent of the Passover story.

Karpas

This is often represented using parsley. It symbolises the theme of spring and the idea of growth. The karpas is a symbol of the initial prosperity of the Jewish people in Egypt before the Pharaoh enslaved them.

The karpas is usually dipped in salt water—representing tears—before it is eaten. The salt water reminds us of those tears cried by the Jews during their time of slavery.

Haroset

A mixture of apples, nuts and wine, haroset resembles the bricks and mortar made by the Israelite slaves when they toiled for the Pharaoh. Haroset comes from the Hebrew word "cheres" meaning "clay".

Maror

A bitter herb (usually in the form of horseradish) represents the bitterness of slavery. Maror is usually mixed with the haroset to make a clear link between the bitterness of slavery and the hard work and suffering that lies behind it.

Hazeret

The hazeret is a second bitter herb, often symbolised by romaine lettuce. The leaves are placed between pieces of matzo to make a sandwich (sometimes haroset is added).

Z’roa (shankbone)

The roasted shankbone represents a slaughtered lamb that was offered as a sacrifice on the eve of the Jews’ exodus from Egypt. Vegetarians can substitute a roasted beetroot for the z'roa.

Beitzah (egg)

The round shape of the hard-boiled egg symbolises the idea of the cycle of life, and it spreads hope for new beginnings after painful times. It is customary to eat the egg (often chopped and mixed with saltwater) from the Seder plate during the meal.

Arrangement on the plate

There is no set rule as to where on the plate each item should go. Often the maror is placed at the centre with the other ingredients surrounding it.

It is possible to buy a Seder plate that has images of all the elements painted onto it. This is helpful, as you can simply place the real items over the images!

You can purchase a Seder plate very easily from Jewish shops or online. They range in cost depending on the material they are made from and how much handiwork may have gone into the decorations. A special handmade Seder plate is a generous and popular gift to buy for friends and family.

If you want to get everyone involved, follow these instructions on how to make a Seder plate from objects that can be found around the house.

Further information

You will find that there are many ways to celebrate the various themes of the holiday, and it’s very much up to you to decide how to plan the perfect Seder.

These resources will help you understand the story and create your own traditions.

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