Passover Traditions and Gifts

The Passover Holiday

The holiday of Passover, or Pesach, is a time to celebrate the emancipation of the Israelites from Ancient Egypt. The holiday is celebrated over an eight-day period, from March 30th to April 7th. This period of time is referred to as the Hebrew month of Nissan. During the festival, Jewish families around the globe partake in a Seder feast. Before the meal, certain Jewish prayers and customs are performed in order to pay respect to the mass migration of the Israelites for Egypt to the Holy Land. During the Seder, families use four cups of wine, eat matzah, and taste bitter herbs, all while reciting the story of the Exodus. The word ‘Passover’ is in reference to the moment that G-d passes over Egypt and spares the Jewish families. In this pass over, G-d kills every firstborn, including the Pharaoh's son. Due to his devastating grief, the Pharaoh releases the Jews from slavery and allows them to leave with G-d’s messenger, Moses, so they can travel to the Promised Land.

The Jewish Prayers of Pesach

During Passover, there are many prayers and traditions that must be followed. The meal is a way to celebrate Israelite freedom, socialize, as well as share knowledge and traditions to the younger members of your family. Passover can be an especially important holiday because it gives families the opportunity to teach children table manners, the Hebrew language, as well as the ceremonial traditions of the Jewish faith.
The seder is broken into various steps that must be completed in order. These are the following steps:


In the first portion of the Seder, Kiddush is recited over the first cup of wine called The Cup of Sanctification. If you have children, grape juice is also an acceptable choice. Kiddush is a very common prayer in the Jewish faith, as it is recited not just for the Passover holiday, but for Sabbath as well. It is important not to drink any of the wine or juice until after the blessing has been fully recited.


Once everyone has taken a drink of wine, everyone must wash their hands. This ceremony of Urchatz is also called netilat-yadayim, translated to mean “washing of the hands.” This ceremony is an important feature of the dinner because it is symbolic of purification. The idea of the ceremony is to wash away your impurities as a way to be ‘clean’ before Hashem (G-d). Typically, this ceremony is conducted by passing around a traditional washing cup. These cups are typically designed with two handles. Why? Well, the cups use two handles as a way to ensure that everyone is completely pure. For instance, if you wash one hand and hold the cup with the dirty hand, you will eventually have to switch to wash the second hand. With a two-handled cup, you are able to separate the clean and dirty handle, while also washing both completely. Today, both Kiddush and Urchatz cups are made with any sort of material, however, the traditional cups are made with real medals. Urchatz cups are especially important because they are an essential tool in the purification ceremony.

According to the second book of Moses, also known as Sefer Shemot, it says, “Make Yourself a copper sink with a base of copper for washing and place it between the Tent of Meeting and the Alter and place water there.”

Because the ceremony of netilat-yadayim is about purification, it would make sense that the cup you use would be made out of a pure material. Netillah cups are made of 100 percent pure copper, which makes them extremely suited for any cleansing ceremonies. It is believed in Jewish mysticism, that having a pure product amplifies the quality of your purification ceremony. Because of this, religious items, such as the netilat-yadayim cup are being made with non-synthetic materials.


After washing your hands, you must then pick up a piece of parsley and dip it into a cup of salt water. This is a symbolic reference to the tears shed by the ancient Israelites while in slavery under the Pharaoh. While everyone eats the salty piece of parsley, you must recite the designated prayer.


After you have a salty taste in your mouth, you must then break off a piece of matzah, making sure that you split the matzah in two. The bigger of the two pieces is called the Afikoman. This piece is especially fun because it is later hidden. If you have small children, this portion of the Seder meal is the most fun because they can participate in the scavenger hunt for the piece of Matzah. The person who finds the broken piece gets a prize, such as a sweet treat or a toy.


The Maggid ceremony is when you must retell the story of Exodus and ask the four questions:

  • On all other nights, we eat chametz and matzah. Why on this night do we eat matzah?
  • On all other nights, we eat all vegetables. Why, on this night, do we eat maror?
  • On all other nights, we don’t dip even once. Why on this night do we dip twice?
  • On all other nights, we eat either sitting upright or reclining. Why on this night do we all recline?

These questions are all important to answer the overarching question “How is this night different from all the other nights?”
The answer to these questions all tie back to the story of Exodus and the small rituals and blessings recited to celebrate emancipation. Matzah is eaten to symbolize how the Jews left Egypt so quickly that their bread wasn’t able to rise. The maror, or the bitter herbs are a way to symbolize the bitter times in Egypt for the ancient slaves. During the Maggid, you also must take a drink from the second cup of wine called, The Cup of Judgement or Deliverance.

Matzah, Maror, Charoset

During these three ceremonies, you must eat your matzah, taste the bitter herbs, and conduct the Charoset ritual. The Charoset (also spelled haroset) is a combination of fruits, nuts, and honey made into a type of paste. According to, this food is a symbol of the mortar used by the Israelite slaves to build the monuments for the Pharaoh.

Shulchan Orech, Tzafun, Berach

This portion of the Seder is the most anticipated — the meal! You and your guest should recline or sit comfortably while eating your meal, as a symbolism of the relaxation that came to the Jews once they were freed from slavery. It is important while eating that you lean to the left to eat your meal.
After you have eaten your meal, you can participate in Tzafun (dessert). In this ceremony, the hidden matzah from before is found and you can eat celebrate by eating it and any other dessert you would like.
After you have finished eating for the night, a grace is performed. In the Berach, you and your guests thank G-d for the meal and drink the third cup of wine called, The Cup of Redemption.

Hallel and Nirtah

Hallel and Nirtah are the final portions of the Seder and involve drinking the fourth, and last, cup of wine, The Cup of Praise or Restoration. This final cup is also called Elijah’s cup. According to Jewish tradition, when Elijah’s cup, we invite Elijah the Prophet into our homes in order to fully rejoice Jewish emancipation.

Netillah, Pure Copper Cups

Traditions are important because they pass information and beliefs from generation to generation. With a Netillah cup, you can gift your friends and family with a present that will last for years. A Netillah cup is the perfect gift to give to loved ones as a way to continue sacred traditions. If you are interested in your own Netillah cup, shop on our website.