Bitter herbs (maror) remind us of the bitterness of the slavery of our forefathers in Egypt. Fresh grated horseradish, romaine lettuce, and endive are the most common choices.
Preparation: This must be done before the holiday begins. Peel the raw horseradish roots, and rinse them off well.
Note: Dry the roots very carefully, since they will be eaten with the matzah later on for the korech sandwich; to avoid gebrokts, not even a drop of water should be left on the horseradish.
Next, grate the horseradish with a hand grater or electric grinder. (Whoever will be grating the horseradish will begin to shed copious tears or cough a lot. Covering the face with a cloth from the eyes downwards helps prevent inhalation of the strong, bitter odor.)
The lettuce or endive leaves must be washed, carefully checked for insects, and thoroughly dried. You can instead use just the stalks, which are easier to clean and check.
Place the horseradish on the Seder plate, on top of a few cleaned, dried leaves of romaine lettuce.
Role in the Seder: After the recital of most of the haggadah comes the ritual handwashing. Then matzah is eaten, followed by some maror, followed in turn by a sandwich of matzah and maror.