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Passover egg traditions

  • b

OK, so in my family we now have 3 different traditions for eating eggs at the Passover Seder:

1. whole plain hard-boiled (my dad's side)
2. chopped hard-boiled mixed into salt water AKA 'the slurry.'
3. whole hard-boiled served in a bowl of salt water (my husband's family).

Are there any others? I'm just curious. Thanks.

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  1. There is also the Yekkish no-hard boiled egg tradition.
    They feel that a hard-boiled egg is sign of mourning and therefore not appropriate on yontif.

    7 Replies
    1. re: David
      charm city nosher

      My husband's family did a boiled potato in salt water, so we combined the two: a hard-boiled egg AND a potato, in salt water.

      1. re: David

        There is a link with the egg as mourning. 1st day pesakh is the same day as Tisha b'av. see kinot - b'tzeiti mimitrayim.

        But for symbology of hard boiled egg, see Ki-Tov, sefer ha'toda'a - over a dozen symbolic explanations. Also, see Roman custom of meal from eggs to apples, "ab ovo usque ad mala".

        Egg also symbolizes korban h'agigah, as opposed to the z'roah - korban hapesa'h'.

        1. re: Jerome
          charm city nosher

          Please translate "korban h'agigah".

          thanks -

          1. re: charm city nosher

            Korban Hagigah = Festive sacrifice.

            This was offered on all three festivals and Passover was no exception.

        2. re: David

          My family never served hardboiled eggs either. Neither did my husband's family.

          What does "Yekkish" mean?

          Thanks, P.J.

          1. re: p.j.

            Yekkish means German Jewish. German Jews were were called Yekkis from the German/Yiddish word for jacket, refering to the short waist length jackets that German Jews wore (and are now pretty standard for non-chasidim) as opposed to the calf or ankle length coats that Eastern European Jews wore.

            1. re: David

              Thanks for the translation and explanation. I always enjoy learning the "shoresh" (root) of words, so to speak.
              That said, neither of us comes from Yekkish or reform backgrounds. Maybe our families dropped the eggs so we could fill up on charoset instead!
              Thanks, p.j.

        3. Our family tradition is the slurry or as we call it egg soup.

          It would also be nice to know where these traditions are from geogrphically - this comes my maternal grandfather - who is from Poland -

          3 Replies
          1. re: david

            Just saw this on Chowhound. My family also does this and is from central Poland. We are trying to find out if it a geographical or family custom. Mine is from Kutno near Lodz.


            1. re: david

              We've always done a variation on this - sliced, not chopped, hard-boiled eggs in salt water. And yes, this comes from my maternal grandfather, also Polish.

            2. p
              peppermint pate

              Okay, not exactly the answer to your question but if you end up with any leftover hard-boiled eggs (or make some more later in the week), our family Passover tradition is to mash them up with a fork and then add a bit of oil, diced onion, salt and pepper. Serve on matzoh. Simple and yet so delicious, every year we say "why do we only make this on Pesach?" and yet, that's exactly what we do. Mmm, looking forward to it already.

              2 Replies
              1. re: peppermint pate

                I love "tzibbel mit eyer" - but it's even better if you saute the onions a bit...and better yet, cook the eggs in your cholent (makes them fleishig), gives them a meaty flavor!

                1. re: DebbyT

                  I make eggs chopped together with well-caramelized sautéed onions almost for almost every Shabbos. It's a very nice appetizer, and always welcome by my non-chopped liver eaters, since it looks a lot like what everyone else is eating (I make my chopped liver with eggs and sautéed onions as well).

              2. We dip hard boiled (whole or cut in half usually) eggs into the salt water before shulchan oruch (the main meal). Family is from Poland.

                1. We cook the eggs in water with onion peels until the shells turn orange-brown. Whole hard boiled eggs are peeled at the table and eaten in salt water. Our family is from a small town in Lithuania, but this seems to be a sephardic tradition. Anyone know the origins? Perhaps dyed to look like roasted eggs? Oldest unmarried woman has to eat the egg that inevitably gets cracked at the bottom of the pot.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: mamaleh

                    Sephardi Huevos Haminados. I've seen speculation that the custom began in a cholent (hamim) pot. If you cook the eggs in water with lots of onion peels overnight, you get a mild, non oniony flavor in the egg white.

                    1. re: AdinaA

                      Forget quinoa, maybe I can eat RICE!!!! :)

                      1. re: AdinaA

                        I just read in Gil Mark's Encyclopedia of Jewish Food (p.253), that eggs dyed for Pesach with onion skin in parts of Poland and Byelorussia are called valetshovnes.

                    2. Ditto on the slurry - although we call it egg soup. There are also the fried egg noodles that we can barely keep our hands off of.

                      1. We eat them sliced in half , dipped into salt water, so they resemble an eye with tears as a remembrance to the Golus....

                        1. In my mother's family (from the Ukraine) we have a tournament with the unpeeled hard-boiled eggs, in which you try to crack the other person's egg with yours until one winner is left standing. The winner usually gets a little prize. This may be a Ukrainian Easter custom as well. I find that a lot of Jewish families don't know this custom but a few do remember it. I'd be curious to know if anyone here knows it and if so where their families are from.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: chefMolnar

                            Never heard of doing this with eggs, but it sounds similar to the old English/Irish game of conkers, played with horse chestnuts (also popular in the Boston neighborhood where I grew up 50 years ago). Except no one's knuckles are likely to get bruised by eggs!


                            1. re: BobB

                              Iraqis do it. I went to an Iraqi seder once and they were hoping I'd be the oblivious easy target but my friend can't keep a secret and told me. I won for best egg-cracking by cracking my egg on someone while avoiding a sneak attack from someone else. :-)

                            2. re: chefMolnar

                              Greek Christians do that on Easter. lLots of customs cross over. over.

                            3. A couple of years ago, just to wake the table up, I brought out the eggs and everyone laughed because i had cooked quail eggs. It's an amusing thing to do. You can get them in many upscale markets.

                              This year I'm serving goose eggs. Just to make everyone laugh.

                              2 Replies
                              1. We do whole eggs, already peeled, dipped in salt water. Family is Lithuanian, Romanian, German, and Italian.

                                1. My family's "tradition" is for the kids to crack their eggs on each other's heads. I had a near riot on my hands the year that a caterer friend gave me a container of pre-cooked and pre-peeled hard boiled eggs.

                                  Just sayin'...

                                  1. Our family is Iraqi and we roast the egg or boil it in water with onion skins to give it the roasted colour and then we have a blessing and eat it whole dipped in lemon water as we recite the haggadah before the greens.

                                    1. By us everyone gets their own salt water so everyone can do as they wish and as much as they wish with the eggs and potato. If not you have issues of double dipping. Might as well be a sport since it is only water and salt.