The first cup was the “introductory rites” to the Passover meal. It consisted of a solemn blessing (Kiddush) pronounced over the first cup of wine, which was followed by a dish of bitter herbs.
This was meant to remind the Jews of the bitterness of Egyptian bondage. This meal began in the evening, sometime around nightfall. The father gathered with his family at a large table and reclined to celebrate the freedom won by God in Egypt. The first cup was mixed with water and wine.
After the mixing occurred, the father began with the formal blessing over the cup. After the blessing, the food was brought out, which included unleavened bread, bitter herbs, a bowl of sauce, and the roasted lamb, which was known as “the body” in traditional Jewish sources. Appetizers were also brought out, however, the actual meal had not yet started.