Wondering how to celebrate Passover as a Christian? These tips will help you plan a meaningful Christian Seder tradition your family will cherish for years.
My husband was raised Jewish. We like to incorporate Judaism and his family traditions in to our Christian home. Notice I said, we like to, because we don't always get around to it. One Jewish tradition which is easy to incorporate into Easter is a Seder meal normally celebrated at Passover.
The date that Passover is celebrated changes every year. We generally choose to observe a Christian Passover on Maundy Thursday or Good Friday, which is when Jesus celebrated the Passover with his disciples and began the tradition of communion.
Tips for Planning a Christian Seder for Passover
Choose a Christian Haggadah
The primary way Passover is celebrated is through the Seder, a communal meal shared by family and friends. A Haggadah, a “script” of the story of Exodus, is used to guide this symbolic meal. A true Jewish haggadah can last for hours. We use a Christian Haggadah instead. Aside from being shorter than the traditional Jewish Haggadah (which can last for 3-4 hours), a Christian haggadah also incorporates a Christian perspective of Passover.
There are several different Christian haggadahs.
Martha Zimmerman's Celebrating Biblical Feasts: In Your Home or Church includes a haggadah as well as menu ideas for a Seder. This book will also explain the symbolic foods of the meal that you will need.
Ann Voskamp has a free printable Messianic Haggadah. It's not our favorite haggadah because it's too short, but it's great for your first Seder.
Our favorite Christian haggadah is in Handbook of Bible Festivals: A Complete Curriculum for Celebrating Seven Holidays by Galen Peterson. I've been using this haggadah since 1997 and I keep coming back to it. It's perfect for kids because it isn't too long. Like Zimmerman's book, this too will help you prepare a Seder plate and other symbolic parts of the meal.
Plan a Simple Menu
One of my favorite parts of Passover is planning our Seder menu. It can be a bit of challenge to not include any leavening (yeast, baking powder, or baking soda) as they are not allowed during Passover. No dinner rolls or traditional cakes tonight. We aren't overly strict on the leavening issue. We just avoid obviously leavened food.
For the first course, matzo ball soup is a family tradition. This is basically chicken noodle soup without the chicken and with big noodle balls in place of the noodles.
For our main dish we almost always roast a chicken and vegetables because it is economical and feeds a lot of people easily. A brisket is very traditional for a main dish at Passover, too.
Make side dishes easy like salad, roasted Brussels sprouts, or Scalloped Potatoes for the Oven or the Slow Cooker.
For dessert, remember to try and skip the leavening. A flourless chocolate cake is the perfect dessert for this occasion.
Set the Seder Table
The Seder table is set for dinner with one extra seat left empty (which is explained in the haggadah).
A Seder also includes a “Seder Plate” consisting of five symbolic elements of Passover: karpas (parsley); a lamb shank or bone; bitter herbs (horseradish); a hard boiled egg; and charoset, an applesauce and nut mixture.
You can purchase a special Seder plate, which will have places for all the elements. Or you can simply use a normal dinner plate and place the elements on it. Any of the haggadah references above will also explain how to set up this symbolic portion of the meal.
You will also need matzo and grape juice as well as a kiddush cup – but a wine glass will do. All of these items are used during the meal as directed by the Haggadah.
Finally, candlesticks are a traditional element of the Seder that help create a nice ambience for the meal. Once all these elements are in place, sit and enjoy a wonderfully symbolic meal with family and friends.
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