Passover for kids

Passover is one of the most widely celebrated Jewish holidays. How will you be spending it with your children?

Passover for kids

by Steven McKinnon, Mindful Mum, April 5th 2012

What is Passover?

Passover is a Jewish festival that commemorates the liberation of Israeli Jews, who were freed from slavery and led out of Egypt by Moses.

The Feast of Passover has been celebrated since roughly 1300 BC, and lasts for seven or eight days.

The story of Passover

According to the book of Exodus, the Hebrew people had been kept as slaves in Egypt for over 200 years. The Hebrews were promised by God that they would be freed, once the Egyptians and their Pharaoh had suffered ten plagues.

First, the River Nile was turned into blood, and then plagues of flies, frogs, lice and locusts were visited upon the Egyptians. Their crops began to fail, and the people, along with their livestock, suffered from boils. The land was also hammered with a brutal hailstorm and plunged into darkness for three days.

After these disasters, God sent his final plague: an avenging angel to kill all of the first-born Egyptian children. To signify that they were ‘God’s people’ and not Egyptian, the  Hebrews marked their doors, allowing the angel to ‘pass over’ them to the next house, leaving them in safety.

Terrified after the plagues and deaths of the first-born children, the Egyptians demanded that the Pharaoh release the Hebrews.

The Pharaoh subsequently ordered Moses, a Jew living in the court of the Pharaoh, to lead the Hebrews away, freeing them from slavery.

How is Passover celebrated?

On the night before Passover, a service, called a ‘Seder’, takes place in the home with family and friends, who all share a meal.

The Seder meal consists of a lamb bone, a roasted egg, horseradish, a green vegetable (or lettuce), and charoset, a paste made from chopped apples, walnuts, cinnamon and wine.

As well as this, there are three ‘matzot’ (unleavened breads), which are placed on top of each other. It is also traditional for men and women to drink four glasses of wine, while children will engage in the hunt for the afikomen, in which a piece of the matzot is hidden. Whoever finds the matzot receives a prize.

If you’re looking for a fun way to celebrate (or perhaps introduce) Passover with your child, why not follow this easy recipe for coconut macaroons, a traditional Jewish sweet? Feel free to let your child help!

Coconut macaroon recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • Half a cup of white sugar
  • Half a cup of corn syrup
  • Half a cup of flour
  • 2 and a half cups of coconut flakes
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Place a stainless steel or glass bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk the egg whites, sugar and salt together.
  2. When the mixture is warm, remove from heat and stir in the corn syrup, flour, vanilla and coconut flakes.
  3. Cover the mixture and place in the refrigerator for one hour.
  4. Pre-heat your oven to 325F, then cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Place small mounds (roughly 1 tablespoon) of the dough on to the parchment-lined baking sheet, 2 inches apart, and bake for 15-20 minutes. You want them golden in colour, so keep your eye on them and watch they don’t overcook!
  6. When the macaroons are golden, leave the baking tray out to cool for ten minutes.
  7. When they’ve cooled enough, serve. Voila!

Photography: Brian Richardson @Flickr

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