There are no set rules for the basic order of the seder. Just like with Thanksgiving dinner, traditions vary among families.
In A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays there are examples of:
- a very simple seder with no specific readings.
- a traditional seder outline. This outline consists of eighteen traditional steps you can adapt for your family.
- an easy-to-use twenty-four page step-by-step Haggadah* (you may reproduce for your family’s use) that explains just what to say for each blessing as you pour the wine, when to eat and drink, and a list of the Bible verses to read. The leader simply reads aloud the text from the gray box on each page as the rest of the group follows the directions.
- a basic checklist of what you need to have at (or close by) the dinner table (below)
The one thing you should not do is get all bound up in “doing it right” and ruin the dinner. That would defeat the purpose. Pray and trust God to lead you.
Passover was reintroduced by Hezekiah in Bible times (Numbers 9). They were unable to follow every step outlined in Leviticus; however, God knew their hearts. He had grace towards them and healed their people.
The table is usually set with the best dishes, a low floral arrangement, a tablecloth, and two candles and candlesticks.
- Place a Haggadah at each setting (or every other setting.)
- On the chairs should be a pillow or cushion for leaning.
- On the table near the leader
- A small basin of water for the hand washing (or the leader can bring it to the table when it is time)
and a towel to dry the hands.
A shank bone of a lamb (some leave off the shank bone and serve a different main dish because Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice. Others like the symbolism–you choose):
- Bitter herbs (usually horseradish);
- Karpas (a green vegetable, usually parsley or celery.)
- Charoset (a mixture of apple, nuts, and wine)
- Three pieces of matzah, in the specially designed matzah cover or within three cloth napkins.
On the table within everyone’s reach
- Small bowls of salty water.
- Wine goblet or glass.
- Extra bitter herbs and charoset for a large family or gathering.
- A plate of matzah.
- A bottle of wine or grape juice (one bottle per every six to eight people).