What types of Passover customs exist?

There are two general groups of Passover customs practised among Jewish communities worldwide when it comes to properly completing the Seder meal: (1) the standard customs used when conducting and properly completing the Seder meal, that is, the reading and performing of the rituals in each of the 15 ordered steps of the Haggadah, and (2) the local cultural customs in different Jewish communities worldwide that over time have been blended into the rituals of the Seder meal, becoming a traditional and unique part of the Seder meal for that community.

How are local Passover customs grouped among Jewish cultural communities?

Jewish cultural communities can be divided into three groups: (1) Ashkenazi (originally, German-Jewish customs which eventually spread to Jewish communities throughout Central, Northwestern, and Eastern Europe); (2) Sephardi (originally, Spanish-Jewish customs which after 1492 C.E., eventually spread to Jews living in Northern Africa, the Ottoman Empire - now primarily Turkey and Greece - southern Europe to Italy, southern Romania, and the Balkans, and to the Middle East), and (3) Mizrahi (descendants of the original Jews who lived in North Africa, the Middle East, and the Caucasus, and in Central Asia, the Baghdadi Jews of India. Yemenite Jews are sometimes included in this group but most often are considered a separate Jewish group). Local Passover customs in different Jewish communities were and are primarily reflected in the foods served at the Seder meal, where ingredients particular to the region have been either added to traditional Passover foods or foods consisting mostly or solely of ingredients found in the region became a tradition in different Jewish communities worldwide. The type of unique ingredients reflected in the culinary Passover traditions of Jewish communities has also depended on the ingredients that were and are available in a particular region during the springtime season when Passover occurs. Passover traditions are also reflected in the way in which the Exodus story is told: in the Passover traditions of Ashkenazi Jews, the story will simply be told while in the Passover traditions of both Sephardi Jews and Mizrahi Jews, the story will be both told and acted out, but this Passover custom will vary from place to place.

There are also distinct Passover traditions for the middle days and seventh day (and eighth day for most Jewish persons who live outside Israel) of Passover. Again, these traditions will vary between and within the three groupings of Jewish culture.

Despite each having a distinct local tradition in many aspects of Passover, the fundamental structure of the Seder meal, outlined in the Haggadah, remains the same for Ashkenazi culture, Sephardi culture, and Mizrahi culture.

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