PROCEDURE FOR CUTTING THE PASSOVER BREAD AT HOME
On Holy Thursday, following the evening meal, the head of the family presides over the service and cuts the Passover bread (Pesaha Appam), which is made from rice and urad. He leads the prayer while all those present stand with reverence. Afterwards, he takes away the palm leaf pieces from the top of the bread and cuts the bread in a cross pattern using a knife. He divides the bread into parts depending on the size of the family.
The leader of the family distributes the slices of bread in an age-based order, beginning with the oldest. While giving the bread with his right hand, he holds his left hand below the elbow of the right hand as a sign of respect. The recipients graciously accept them with both hands. All participants receive the Passover milk in cups and partake of it by dipping the bread in it.
This cross-imposed bread is not given to non-believers. As an alternative, they prepare similar breads with banana leaves and without the customary cross of Palm Sunday leaves. The bread that is given to the children before it is cut is prepared without a cross.
PRAYER SERVICE FOR CUTTING THE PASSOVER BREAD AT HOME
CEL: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
CEL: Glory to God in the highest.
CEL: Peace and hope to people on earth now, always and forever.
CEL: Our Father in heaven
ALL: Hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done / on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day the bread we need / and forgive us our debts and sins / as we have forgiven those who offended us. Do not let us fall into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
Our Father in heaven, heaven and earth are full of Your glory, angels and people sing out Your glory, Holy, Holy, Holy are You.
SER: Let us pray. Peace be with us.
(The female head of the family places a candle or traditional Nilavilakku on the table and lights it).
CEL: We honor You, Lord God, sovereign of the universe and giver of light. For you have chosen us as holy people. Out of mercy, You raised us as a family. We are gathered in this house for this Passover meal to remember all the miracles you have done. Help us make this a blessing. The Almighty Lord forever.
CEL: Praise God who is good.
ALL: Because His mercy is endless. (Repeats for each).
CEL: Praise God the Most High.
CEL: Praise the Lord, the miracle worker.
CEL: Praise the one who freed the people of Israel from Egypt.
CEL: Praise Him who parted the Red Sea and led Israel through its midst.
CEL: Praise Him who led all his people through the desert.
CEL: Praise the One who remembered us in our times of sorrow.
CEL: Praise be to Him who saved us from all our enemies.
CEL: Praise the one who gives food to all living beings in the world.
CEL: Praise the heavenly God with gratitude.
CEL: Glory be to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
ALL: As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, forever. Amen.
CEL: Merciful Lord, look after us with the same care you looked after Israel wonderfully. Help us, the chosen people of the new covenant, to experience your protection and to eat the heavenly manna that the Lord Jesus Christ has provided for us. In doing so, let us become strong and reach the promised land, the kingdom of heaven. Eternal Lord forever.
SONG OR RECITE
ALL: Lord of all, we bow and praise you.
Jesus Christ, we glorify You.
For You give man / glorious resurrection
And You are the one / who saves his soul.
SER: Let us pray. Peace be with us.
READER: A reading from the Book of Exodus (12:21-31 – 41-42).
Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go and procure lambs for your families, and slaughter the Passover victims. Then take a bunch of hyssop, and dipping it in the blood that is in the basin, apply some of this blood to the lintel and the two doorposts. And none of you shall go outdoors until morning. For when the LORD goes by to strike down the Egyptians, seeing the blood on the lintel and the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over that door and not let the destroyer come into your houses to strike you down. “You will keep this practice forever as a statute for yourselves and your descendants. Thus, when you have entered the land which the LORD will give you as he promised, you must observe this rite. When your children ask you, ‘What does this rite of yours mean?’ you will reply, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice for the LORD, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt; when he struck down the Egyptians, he delivered our houses.’” Then the people knelt and bowed down, and the Israelites went and did exactly as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron. And so at midnight the LORD struck down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh sitting on his throne to the firstborn of the prisoner in the dungeon, as well as all the firstborn of the animals. Pharaoh arose in the night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians; and there was loud wailing throughout Egypt, for there was not a house without its dead. During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Leave my people at once, you and the Israelites! Go and serve the LORD as you said.
At the end of four hundred and thirty years, on this very date, all the armies of the LORD left the land of Egypt. This was a night of vigil for the LORD, when he brought them out of the land of Egypt; so on this night all Israelites must keep a vigil for the LORD throughout their generations.
ALL: Praise be to the Lord, our God.
CEL: This evening marks the celebration of the liberation of the Israelites from Egypt and their entrance into the Promised Land, which was made possible through God’s powerful presence. As we recall these events from the Old Testament, we celebrate this night as a reminder of how humankind was delivered from death to life through the Passover of the New Testament, and from the bondage of sin to the liberty of God’s children. The service helps us remember that Jesus Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper, commanded us to love, and prayed with sweat that became blood in Gethsemane. Each of these should remind us to express gratitude to God.
SER: Let us all recite with joy and love, “We thank you Lord.”
ALL: We thank you Lord. (Repeat).
SER: O Lord, who gave us the commandment of love, saying: “Love one another as I have loved you.”
SER: O Lord, who promised peace to us and our families, saying: “My peace I give unto you.”
SER: O Lord, who completed the sacrifice of the Old Testament and gave us the sacrifice of love in the New Testament.
SER: O Lord, who gave us our Holy Father Pope ……, the head of the universal Church, our Major Archbishop Mar …… , our Archbishop Mar …., our bishop Mar …… the head and father of our diocese.
SER: O Lord, who has allowed us to take part once again in this family Passover feast to strengthen and show the unity of our family.
SER: Let us pray. Peace be with us.
CEL: Let us pray for God’s blessing on this Passover meal that we are about to share.
(The female head of the house places bread and milk on the table).
CEL: Loving God, in the fullness of time, your Son came and renewed the Passover of the Old Testament. Bless us as we remember the Passover of the Old Testament and the new Passover that Jesus gave for us. Enable all these family members who eat this bread and drink this milk to unite and cooperate, serve, and cohabitate as a family, in love and harmony. Eternal Lord forever.
(The celebrant cuts the Passover bread with a knife in the shape of a cross and then slices them into small pieces. Starting with the oldest, everyone should accept the bread from him with both hands. All eat the bread after dipping it into the Passover milk that has been poured into the cups).
The Knanayology Foundation (Knanaya Global Foundation NFP), a non-profit organization registered in IL, USA, hosts Knanayology and undertakes other projects on Knanaya Community .