7 Don’ts for Passover Rookies

March 25, 2013    |    By +
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Being a first time guest for pretty much any holiday is tough. You’re not sure of what to bring the host, how they celebrate the occasion, what the holiday traditions are, and for some, it can get a whole lotta awkward real quick. Passover can be one of these tricky holidays that might deter you from accepting a Passover Seder invitation, but it shouldn’t! Gifts.com is here to help make your first time as a Passover Seder guest easy and fun. Our list of 7 Passover don’ts will have you geared up and ready for the big night, which begins at sundown on Monday, March 25th – the night of the first Seder – and lasts for an additional eight days, ending at sundown on Tuesday, April 2nd.

What is Passover: Passover marks the liberation of the children of Israel who were slaves in ancient Egypt, and recounts the story of their exodus to the Promised Land during the Seder.

Key Words To Remember: Matza, Ten Plagues, Moses, Egypt and the parting of the Red Sea.

And now for the Don’ts!

#1 Don’t bring a cake

During the eight days of Passover, observers are not allowed to eat any sort of leavened food or yeast. That means no cakes, bread, pastas and basically any foods with fermented dough. This tradition commemorates the ancient Israelites who fled from Egypt and did not have enough time to allow their dough to rise before fleeing. This is why Matzah, an unleavened flatbread made solely from flour and water, is eaten throughout Passover.

#2 Don’t forget your reading glasses

One of the renowned Passover Seder traditions is to read the whole story of Passover out loud from the Hagaddah. The Haggadah is a Jewish text that sets forth the order of the Passover Seder and recounts the full story of Passover, which is obligated to be read and heard by everyone at the Seder table.

#3 Don’t forget the Kosher for Passover wine

One of the big “Mitzvahs” and obligations during the Seder, is that everyone (of age, of course) must drink a total of 4 cups of wine. This is the fun part of the Seder and will guarantee for a funfilled evening for sure! If you’re not a big drinker, no worries, grape juice can also be considered as fulfilling the Mitzvah! If you do decided to bring wine, make sure that it reads “Kosher for Passover”, regular kosher wine is not allowed, unless it is specifically stated Kosher for Passover.

#4 Don’t come hungry!

I know this sounds a bit odd considering that Passover Seders are legendary for their feasts, but mark my words, you will be STARVING by the time you actually get to put the Seder meal in your mouth. The reading of the Haggadah during the Seder comes first, and you must go through the whole story of Passover before you get to the good part, the meal. On average, depending on how religious and observant your Passover Seder hosts are, traditional reading of the Haggadah takes about 1 hour and a half, sometimes two hours to finish. You will eat traditional foods that are representative of the story of Passover during the Seder, like bitter herbs, a boiled egg, special dips and Matzah, but these will hardly fill you up!

#5 Don’t forget your wallet

One of the fun parts of the Passover Seder is the hiding of the “Afikoman”. The Afikoman is a piece of Matzah that the head of the Passover Seder, usually the host, is supposed to place in enclosed cloth, much like this beautiful embroidered Afikoman Set and hide it close to the end of the Seder, without alerting anyone. The children of the table are then encouraged to seek out the hidden Matzah, and whoever has found it, receives a prize, which usually is money gathered by all the guests at the table. It is a fun Passover ritual for the children and for the adults who love to see the kids running around trying to be the first to find the hidden treasure.

#6 Don’t forget the traditional Passover Seder songs

You will most likely be singing along or at least listening if you’re too shy to work your wind pipes! Most traditional songs are in Hebrew, but there are always English Haggadah versions that you can request to sing along to like this one or this one.

#7 Don’t forget the Passover inspired gifts

Passover is a great time to give holiday themed gifts because, not only does the holiday last for eight days, it calls for the gathering of family and friends that will also be able to enjoy the Passover related gifts you will be giving to the host. A safe bet when shopping for a Passover gift is to look for items that can be displayed at the Seder table. Seder plates are beautiful and always needed by the host. If you would like to go the traditional route with the Seder plate, the Spode Judaica Seder Plate is a great pick. The Pottery Barn Leaf Seder Plate is a beautiful new take on the traditional Seder Plate and will also make for a great gift. A beautiful and the ultimate functional Passover Seder gift would be the 4 Piece Porcelain Seder Set, it has all the components of displaying the traditional Seder foods and wine. Be sure to see all of our beautiful and festive Passover inspired gifts for your Seder hosts.


We hope you enjoy your first Seder and Happy Passover!

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Meet the Gurus

Kathryn D.W.
Kathryn Drury Wagner is the senior manager of content at Gifts.com. She was formerly the executive editor at Honolulu Magazine, and is the author of The Ultimate Guide to Shopping on Oahu. Her career has included staff positions at Country Living Gardener and Power & Motoryacht. Her latest book is "Hawaii's Strangest, Ickiest, Wildest Book Ever!"

Gwen P.
Gwen is the Editorial Curator at Gifts.com. In addition to writing blogs, she creates gift guides, curates the site, and produces content for our social media channels. As a freelance writer, she created blogs on fashion, art, travel, health and lifestyle. A talented jewelry designer, she's also a yogi and a hospital volunteer with her therapy dog, Lilo, a Pomeranian.