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Ritual meal served on the first night of Passover, commemorating the flight of the Jews from Egypt. Presided over by the head of the family, the Seder follows a liturgy, the Haggadah, that reminds participants of the story of the Exodus. The ritual includes blessings, the pouring of wine, and ritual questions about the meaning of the event (Why does this night differ from all other nights?) asked by the youngest child present. The meal includes unleavened bread and bitter herbs, the bread symbolizing the haste with which the Israelites left Egypt and the herbs symbolizing the bitterness of slavery. A cup of wine is poured for Elijah, the precursor of the messiah.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Seder, visit Britannica.com.
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