It is traditional for Jewish families to gather on the first night of Passover (first two nights in communities outside the land of Israel) for a special dinner called a seder (derived from the Hebrew word for "order", referring to the very specific order of the ritual). The table is set with the finest china and silverware to reflect the importance of the meal. During this meal, the story of the Exodus from Egypt is retold using a special text called the Haggadah. Four cups of wine are consumed at various stages in the narrative.
The Seder Plate is a special plate containing symbolic foods. Each of the six items arranged on the plate has special significance to the retelling of the story of the exodus from Egypt, which is the focus of this ritual meal (the seventh symbolic item used during the meal — a stack of three matzos — is placed on its own plate on the Seder table).
The six traditional items on the Seder Plate are: Maror (bitter herbs), Karpas (vegetable), Hazeret (bitter vegetable), Haroset (apple, nut, spice and wine mixture), Z’roa (shankbone), and Beitzah (egg).
Some seder plates have only five dishes, as there is some controversy among the authorities as to the requirement of hazeret. Plates with five dishes omit the second bitter herb (or bitter vegetable).