WHILE MOST JEWISH ceremonies take place in a synagogue, Seder is traditionally a family gathering at home. A Seder follows a service outlined in a Jewish text called the Haggadah, which recounts the Exodus from Egypt, with vibrant scenes of plagues, enslavement, and Moses parting the Red Sea.
As different parts of the story are told (usually with the oldest man leading the service, and special parts called out for the youngest children), different foods are eaten from the Seder plate, such as maror (“bitter herbs” for slavery), and charoset (sweet apple-nut paste representing the “mortar” of the bricks), each food symbolizing a different element of the story.
The most iconic of all of the foods is Matzo, or flat, unleavened bread, symbolizing the speed with which the slaves had to leave Egypt – no time for bread to rise. In the Haggadah it is called the “bread of affliction.” A piece of Matzo – called the Afikomen – is usually hidden for after the meal. The children have to find it, and then get presents.