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Passover Traditions From Around the World

I'm writing an article about kosher passover traditions from around the world. Would anyone be able to share some information as to their family Passover customs?

Thank you!

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  1. In my family we have a tradition that I have found only one other family that does this - Egg Soup which is basically chopped/grated hard boil eggs in salt water served as a cold soup instead of hard boiled egg and salt water -

    7 Replies
    1. re: weinstein5

      Interesting! Never heard of that one!

      1. re: weinstein5

        My family did the "egg soup" growing up. I'm not so excited by it so I now serve hard boiled eggs.

        1. re: weinstein5

          Some of our relatives did that. We start the meal with a hard boiled egg.

          My kids start the meal with a hard boiled egg cracked on the head of the person sitting next to them. One year I bought pre-peeled eggs and I have never heard the end if it.

          What? It's food! it's a custom!

          We have the exact same menu every seder.

          Hard boiled egg
          Chicken soup with matza balls
          side dishes can vary...
          Chocolate cake or brownies and fruit platter

          1. re: weinstein5

            We had exactly the same thing. There was something about the salty/cold sensation that I really liked. For years (about 15 after I moved from NYC to CA) I went to a friends house and she served plain, hard boiled eggs. Nothing special about that...

              1. re: weinstein5

                we always do that! we love egg soup!

                1. A number of my friends eat kitniyot outside of their homes and a few only eat kitniyot on the last day of pesach (a la gebrokts) so we host a kitniyot-fest.

                  1 Reply
                  1. We have a Passover wine and cheese party over Chol haMoed for my fellow single friends, and our friends with kids appreciate the break, and they also come and enjoy the adult atmosphere. I make tapenades, homemade dips with TempTee cream cheese, serve olives, nuts, sundried tomatoes, crudites, all the Pesach crackers and flatbreads on the market, including a matzah flatbread I make myself with EVOO, spices, and sesame seeds (we're not makpid on kitniyot), with a huge variety of cheeses, from the Cheese Guy, Good Life, and other labels, including several kinds of chevre. Everyone brings a couple bottles of wine.

                    I also put out a Pesach bar: I buy my liquors around Passover, and get Zachlawi arak, vodka, No. 209 gin, Carmel Brandy, Binyamina Amaretto, Limancello, Triple Sec, tequila, and some others from Skyview in Riverdale, which has a great list of liquors for Pesach. The adults appreciate that, too. I get plenty of juices, cranberry, orange, lime, lemon, etc. to make drinks, and I make a simple syrup with different infusions, too, for drinks.

                    Other things I do are putting out a Pesach Ice Cream sundae bar (the kids like that), and we'll make egg creams, too. Nuts, cherries, fruits, candy chopped up, crumbled cookies, chocolate ganache, caramel sauce, etc. round it out well.

                    I'll also make a baked potato bar: butter, sour cream, ratatouille, creamed spinach, broccoli sautee, bean chili, roasted red peppers, sauteed peppers and onions, and mushrooms are the toppings offered, and I offer a variety of cheeses for topping, as well. This is one of our YT day meals, along with a salad and dessert.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: tractarian

                      Interesting chol Hamoed tradition, tractarian. Ours is a bit different. Anyone in the extended family who is out on a chol hamoed trip north of the city will wind up at my mother's house for dinner where she will serve leftover meatballs (with no spaghetti), potted roast and greasy potatoes (the potatoes go pretty quickly) and leftover roast chicken. She will also cut up some peppers and cucumbers. So, as I said. A bit different than yours but lots of love in the room too.

                    2. I've heard of some people from Egypt that did not eat bananas because they didn't know what they were and they thought that they might be chometz!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: chicago maven

                        Sounds like most of today's rabbis - If they didn't know what it was in 19th century Europe then you can't eat it for Passover today.

                      2. Not my family, but I have an Israeli/Persian friend who hands out spring onions/scallions during the seder. We then turn and whack our neighbor with them. Don't ask me why because I have no idea.

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: Chatsworth

                          I've heard of that tradition. It's supposed to remind us of being slaves and getting whipped.

                          1. re: Chatsworth

                            Yup! Persian tradition. Dayenu! Only we don't whack our neighbor with it. We get up and whack EVERYONE with it.

                            1. re: sherrib

                              One year I hosted a seder for seder-phobes: people who were intimidated by the Hebrew, worried their non-Jewish spouse would be bored, people who had never been to a seder before, etc. Sure we did games and English translations and exciting themed food but the single thing that made everyone feel comfortable is when I brought out the scallions so people could hit each other. Some people came in to the seder with the idea that it HAD to be solemn, boring and serious. It really changed their perception of a seder, and every one of those guests would be willing to try a seder again in the future.

                              1. re: PotatoPuff

                                When I was in High School 45 years ago I used to go to the second seder at my girlfriend's home. Her father had a tradition that everyone brought the hagaddah of their choice and the seder was celebrated moving paragraph by paragraph from person to person. Depending on the guest, the reading might be in English, Hebrew, French Spanish Russian etc.
                                The strangest was in my senior year when one family brought their copies of the Communist Haggadah...........

                                1. re: bagelman01

                                  I think I will have to write a communist haggadah!

                                  My family tradition was (before candle-lighting) to have everyone sign and date their haggadahs. Made for great memories every year as we read back over the guests.

                                  1. re: bagelman01

                                    Sounds amazing (the tradition, not the communism)

                                2. re: sherrib

                                  We did that last year because we had a lot of little kids at the seder. Everyone hit during the "Dai-dai-aynu" part of the song.

                                  It got more than a little out of hand.

                              2. I once did seder with my friend's family. They have a tradition of cracking the hardboiled eggs over each other's heads and you try to not be the last one to crack your egg. My friend was told that this was an Iraqi custom. He only found out a few years ago that this was started by a mischievous family member after moving to the US from Iraq and no one had told my friend.

                                1. We play eppers. the family is from Austria Hungary and has played this game at the seder after the Hillel sandwich for at least 300 years

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: LubDub

                                    What is that? Do you by any chance lay out gold and silver jewellery on your table? I heard that was a Hungarian tradition.

                                    1. re: nats79

                                      the jewelry tradtion is at a pidyon haben.

                                  2. Our family is Persian and we "whip" each other and run around the room with scallions when we say Dayeinu.
                                    Afterwards I wash and save the remaining scallions to make a great green pancake called Kookoo Sabzi.
                                    I add as much chopped parsley as scallions, chopped spinach, a little dill and leftover boiled potatoes mashed or some instant potato flakes and lots of eggs. (If you like cilantro add some of that as well.) For seasoning add salt and pepper and if you like a little tumeric and cinnamon. If the batter is too loose add some cake meal. Yum Yum. You can make it as a frittata and cut wedges or fry individual "latkes".
                                    Dalya Hakimi

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: DalyaHakimi

                                      We are not Persian but we did the scallion thing last year just to amuse some of our guests (little kids) and it worked: our son has met a lovely Persian girl.

                                      PS to Dalya: I am your sister's next door neighbor! (The decorator.) I don't use my name or my city online.

                                      1. re: DalyaHakimi

                                        Please, more on your food. I love Persian cuisine. Is rice permitted in your tradition?

                                        1. re: lagatta

                                          Can you really imagine Persians surviving a week without rice? :-)

                                          1. re: zsero

                                            Lol, very true, yes rice is permitted.

                                        2. unmarried woman attending the seder needs to eat the eg from the seder plate, which is a "huevo hamindado";(the egg is cooked with coffee grounds, onion skins, a paper bag, or all three, to make it brown) on the front porch, if she is looking for a husband...she will be married within a year...it works!

                                          1. Many have the custom that the head of the household wears a kittel at Seder. My father a'h did it every year.

                                            1. My husband's family had a tradition of having every male from youngest to oldest sing the kiddush.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: veggielover

                                                We do the same thing, except oldest to youngest (host goes first). I didn't realize this wasn't universal until I led a seder in college and people looked at me like I had two heads when I asked who was second oldest.

                                                1. re: veggielover

                                                  How about mah nishtana? In some homes only the youngest says it, but in my experience every child says it, in order from youngest to oldest, and everyone has to pay attention. At the first seder this year mah nishtana took well over an hour, while the hagada itself only took 25 minutes! I drew the lesson that sometimes the answer can be simpler than the question. Or that one answer can address many questions.