How to Host a Passover Seder

A table with a seder plate, wine glasses, matzo, and haggadot.

A seder (ritual meal) is the central celebration of Passover, the springtime holiday that commemorates the liberation of the Jewish people from slavery more than 3,000 years ago. During Passover, Jews all over the world gather with family and friends to retell the story of the Jewish people’s Exodus from ancient Egypt and eat symbolic foods in a particular order (the Hebrew word seder literally means “order”). If you're ready to host your first seder, PJ Library has everything you need, including a haggadah, a checklist, and video walk throughs to help you host, stress-free.

Related:  PJ Library's Passover Hub


  • Matzah
  • a Haggadah
  • Grape juice or wine
  • Candles
  • Seder plate 
  • Symbolic foods to go on the seder plate:
    • A green herb, like parsley
    • An egg (or olive, if someone has an allergy)
    • A roasted lamb shank (or beet if you're vegetarian)
    • Charoset
    • A bitter vegetable
    • Salt water
  • Cover or bag for matzah
  • Delicious meal to enjoy together
  • A special cup for Elijah (and one for Miriam too if you'd like)


  • Set your symbolic foods on the seder plate and put it on the table
  • Set your table, including two unlit candles and your cup for Elijah
  • Open your haggadah and follow along
    • Your haggadah will take you through each step from blessings and candle lighting to when to ask the four questions to when to serve the food.
    • Need a super short and sweet seder for little ones or antsy adults? Try PJ Library's "Before Bedtime" seder.
  • Relax, enjoy the evening together, and celebrate freedom

TIP: Whether you try every step, or just one, all that matters is that you're trying something new to you.


15 Minute Seder for Young Children
The Before-Bedtime Seder: A Short but Meaningful Celebration
Step-by-Step Seder video playlist
Teaching Kids to Say the Four Questions