So, your Jewish friend invited you home for his/her Passover Seder.
“Free meal!” you think to yourself.
But what is a Seder? And what exactly will you be eating? Who’s gonna be there? Do you get to eat Challah? Do you have to be able to pronounce it?
As your resident CollegeCandy Jew (OK, so there are quite a few of us), allow me to prepare you for tonight’s festivities. Below, what you need to know about a Passover Seder.
1. Eat a little before you go.
Passover food isn’t for everyone (no matter how creative that Jewish mother gets with her Passover rolls) and it may be hard to stomach for someone who hasn’t been choking it down for 18 years. And even if you do love yourself some matzoh ball soup (who doesn’t?), it might be awhile before you get some. First you gotta get through the actual seder service. Actually, first you gotta get all the Jewish women to stop talking, then you gotta get through the service.
2. Follow along.
You never know when the old guy (it’s always an old guy) leading this thing is going to call on you to read a passage. And trust me, as the guest, he is definitely going to call on you. Usually before Great Aunt Ethel reads in her strong Russian accent and after the family makes 12-year-old Rachel read in Hebrew to prove all that money spent on Monday Night School wasn’t wasted. Don’t worry if you don’t understand a word you just read; it may be in English but most of us don’t really get it.
3. Leave that wine glass in the middle of the table alone.
You’re going to have plenty of wine, trust me. 4 glasses, to be exact. And it’s going to be unlike any wine you’ve ever had before. Think “fermented Capri Sun.” Yeah, it’s that sweet. Anyways, don’t touch that glass in the middle – it’s for Elijah, the prophet. He’s like Santa Claus, except instead of circling the planet and dropping off presents to everyone, he circles the planet and drinks everyone’s wine. Yeah, I wish I had that job, too.
4. Try everything….but go easy on the bitter herb.
The weird thing about Passover is that the stuff that looks the grossest actually tastes the best. Like gelfite fish, matzoh kugal and charosset, which is meant to look like the cement they put between bricks (don’t worry, you’ll understand the significance later tonight), but tastes way better. It’s made with apples and nuts and wine; how can you not love it? Just don’t fall for the old “Oh, take a big hunk of this bitter herb stuff” trick we Jews like to play on the newbies. It’s not bitter, it’s HOT, and you don’t have to prove yourself by sweating and crying at the table.
5. Wear something loose.
Like most Jewish holiday meals, the theme of a Passover seder is “We fought, we won, let’s eat.” And eat a lot. Even if you aren’t a fan of gelfite fish (or that nasty snot stuff it comes in), there will be plenty of delicious food and candy (mmmm Ring Gels) to chow down on throughout the night. Avoid the skinny jeans and wear a loose dress for optimal comfort.
This post was originally written by Lauren – University of Michigan. Since we’re not members of the tribe, we deferred to her to share her wisdom. For this, we’re endlessly grateful!