Preparing for the Seder Meal Checklist

The Seder is the most important event in the Passover celebration, but there’s more than a few components to this intricate ritual. Use this checklist to keep track of everything from the wine glasses to the prayer books for a seamless Seder.

Illustration of plates and bowls (61)
Photo: Papercut

Tableware

  • Tablecloth and napkins

    Passover is one of the most celebrated holidays in the Jewish faith, so it's customary to dress up the table with an elegant tablecloth and cloth napkins.

  • Candles

    Scatter candles throughout the room and on the table for a warm glow.

  • Kosher dishes and utensils

    Whether you choose formal china or everyday dishware, don't forget to keep kosher for the Seder.

  • Glassware

    Put two glasses, one for water and one for wine, at each place setting.

  • An extra wine goblet

    Fill an additional wine glass and place it in the center of the table for Elijah, a prophet who is thought to visit each Seder dinner.

Food and Beverages

  • Seder plate

    Set the Seder plate, filled with foods that symbolize the story of the Exodus, near the Seder leader's place at the table. Arrange five items on the plate: a hard-boiled egg; a roasted shank bone; a spring vegetable such as parsley, called karpas; a mixture of fruit, wine, and nuts, called charoset; and either prepared or fresh horseradish, called maror. Some Jews include a sixth item called chazeret, often represented by lettuce.

  • Salt water

    Provide each guest with a small dish of salt water to dip their greens into.

  • Additional dishes of karpas, charoset, and maror

    To make things more convenient for guests, you can also set small dishes containing each item next to every place setting

  • Matzah

    Put three pieces of matzah on a plate, cover with a cloth or napkin, and place underneath or near the Seder plate.

  • Wine

    Make sure there is enough wine on the table for each guest to have four glasses, an amount that symbolizes the four stages of the Exodus. Substitute grape juice for the children and the teetotalers of the group.

Miscellaneous

  • Copies of the Haggadah

    Lay a copy of the Haggadah, a prayer book that explains the story of the Israelites' slavery in Egypt, on top of each guest's appetizer plate, under the napkin.

  • Basin and towel

    Place a small basin filled with warm water and a towel on the table for two hand-washing rituals that occur during the meal.

  • Pillows

    It's traditional for each guest to recline on a pillow during the ceremony to symbolize the comfort of freedom.

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