Last week I told you how to prepare to host a Christian Passover, you can find that post by clicking here. This week I’ll tell you about my first Passover. My main concern was that it would take forever and my children wouldn’t be able to sit through it. Basically, I had nothing to worry about because the Seder (Passover Meal) is set up to engage children. We also had a bag of Easter eggs to entice the children to good behaviour😏. At the end of each section or page (depending on the length) we’d give them an Easter egg if they had behaved well. They only missed out on a couple.
If you have more adults, or older children who can read, you might want to print off more copies of the blessings. My husband and I just put it between us when we both had to read it, but that’s not practical if you have more people who need to say it.
Last thing before we dive into the Seder: We celebrated Passover on Good Friday. I didn’t realize that Passover and Easter don’t always coincide. It seems appropriate for Christians to celebrate it then because Jesus celebrated Passover right before he was crucified, and Good Friday is remembering his crucifixion. As it happens Passover this year was supposed to occur on Good Friday, but that’s not always the case. I think, though, that we will always celebrate it on Good Friday to make it a part of our Easter traditions. I guess I should talk to my husband about that…🤔.
Now, without further ado: Our First Passover Ever!!!
Right Before You Start
The Seder starts on page 4 of the “The Passover Haggadah” by the Jewish Federation. By the way, all the page numbers I cite here are from this Haggadah. And if I skip explaining sections in this post it means we did exactly as described in this Haggadah. If you want more details on how to get the Haggadah from The Jewish Federation check out last week’s post. The Seder starts with the women of the household (Me! Yay!) lighting two candles and then everyone saying a blessing. But before we did even that we had all the kids go and wash their hands with soap since there is some sharing of food and water for hand-washing in the Seder.
One thing we’re going to change for next year is to get SMALL wine glasses! Little plastic things from Dollarama would work perfectly. My husband and I had wine, and that was fine because we had reasonable-sized glasses, but the kids had grape juice, and their glasses were adult sized. At the Seder it is required that you drink a whole glass at 4 specified times, and the kids had a lot of trouble with that. By the end they all felt sick and full of grape juice. To give a bit more perspective the three kids drank almost one whole bottle of grape juice in one night. That’s just crazy!
Hand washing: We had Daddy place the bowl in front of each person. The hand-washer would use the cup from the bowl and pour the water over one hand, then switch hands. Daddy then held the drying towel while they dried their hands.
The overarching theme for “what I learned in sections 3 and 4” is: less salt and less pepper. First the salt. We dip the parsley into the salt water and eat it. I put WAY too much salt in our water. It was so horrible. So when you make yours just put in a bit of salt. You still get the salty flavour without almost dying (yes, that’s hyperbole… but barely!).
Breaking the Middle Matzah: I made our Matzah, and I loved the recipe we used except for one small detail that ended up causing problems: too much pepper for little mouths! If your kids are unaccustomed to hot food I would recommend putting in only half of the called-for pepper. You can see the recipe we used by checking out DIY Christian Passover Part 1. After the middle matzah is broken you wrap one half in a napkin and hide it for the kids to find in section 14. I went and hid it while my husband rewarded each child with an Easter egg for sitting so nicely through the section.
Section 5 is huge, so I’ll try to use a lot of page numbers so we don’t lose each other. We didn’t know all the answers to the questions in section 5 (page 6), so we googled them. We wanted our answers to reflect Christ’s gift to us of dying on the cross to save us from our sins so we added some things in too. These are the answers we read to the children:
- Matzah is the food of slaves. The Israelites didn’t have time for their bread to rise before leaving Egypt, so they ate unleavened bread. And Jesus said in Luke 22:19, “this [bread] is my body which is given for you.”
- Bitter herbs remind us of the Israelites’ bitter slavery. It also reminds us of the bitterness of the cross.
- The salt water reminds us of the tears the Israelites cried in Egypt, and of Jesus’ tears the night he was crucified.
- We recline on cushions like royalty. We don’t have to sit on hard surfaces or stand like slaves.
We skipped “The Four Children” (pg 7) because it’s too much about the laws surrounding the Passover. As Christians we don’t need to follow these laws. Also, the wicked child is told that because of their wicked attitude they would not have been redeemed if they had been there. I just thought that seemed a little harsh, and kind of going against what we tell them, that “God still loves you even when you’re bad.”
For the song on page 8 we went to YouTube and played the Louis Armstrong version of “Go Down Moses.” The kids were able to do the echo and the “Let my people go.” It was really fun!
On page 9 we get to splash ten drops of wine, one for each plague. This was a hit! We gave each child and adult a napkin on which to sprinkle their wine. Daddy said each plague first and we all repeated in a steady rhythm, like this, “Blood. BLOOD! Frogs. FROGS! Vermin. VERMIN!…”
We skipped page 10 because it’s a song that we don’t know, and my husband and I were afraid the Seder would be too long as it was. If you don’t know it either and want to put in a different song I can think of one really good one. It’s a popular church camp song that goes like this: “Pharaoh Pharaoh (Oh baby) let my people go. (Oo ah ya ya ya). Well the burnin’ bush told me just the other day…” etc. Very kid-friendly.
We did the whole of page 11 with no changes, but here’s a picture of our Seder plate:
It has parsley, horseradish, charoset and a bone made from paper. For the story and explanation behind all that see Part 1.
I just wanted to show you this picture of us eating our matzah:
Matzah and Charoset Sandwich. This would have been a lot better with less pepper in the matzah. I read online that kids usually love this part because the charoset is so sweet. But my kids couldn’t get past the “spicy bread.” They had fun putting it together, though. And Daddy did a great job of finishing all the sandwiches.
Dinner! We totally embraced our freedom from the law with a very random dinner of tacos! We wanted something that could be totally prepared ahead of time, but wouldn’t get mushy or gross sitting and waiting for so long. So we prepared tacos and then just microwaved the meat when we were setting everything else on the table. It was all really easy to clean up after too. What do you have for your Seder meal? Do you have any dishes that would be brilliant? Maybe a slow cooker something? PLEASE share it with us in the comments!
Finding the Afikomen (pg 14). Now the little people all run around and try to find the other half of the matzah. They haven’t left the table in ages, so a little running around is just the ticket. My husband watched them and helped them while I cleaned up the kitchen a bit. When they found it and brought it to us we gave them Easter eggs as a reward.
On page 15 you’ll see that we are supposed to give Elijah a cup of wine. This is looking forward to when the Messiah will come. BUT we know that the Messiah has come! Jesus Christ our Lord, so we skipped this section.
We prayed here, but not for the Messianic Era. We thanked God for freeing the Israelites from slavery, and from freeing us from slavery by sending Jesus. We didn’t sing any songs to end. We just rushed everybody into bed. But I think next year we’ll start a bit earlier and sing some Jesus songs. We also discussed the idea of having a foot washing bit at the end, because after Jesus’ last Passover he washed the disciples’ feet.
So that’s it! What do you think? Will you try it? What is your main concern about hosting a Seder? Have you hosted a Seder before and have some tips for us? Have you been to a Seder and saw some great ideas? Let me know in the comments!
If you want to look at some more of our Easter Preparations check out DIY Easter Bonnets- for boys and girls. I’ve just realized the importance of preparing our children and ourselves for the Easter season. I hope you’ll join me making Easter super special!