Last year I shared my grandmother’s version of my mother’s Matzah Ball Soup. This year, instead of sharing a food memory, I’ll share my favorite Passover custom: the hiding (and seeking) of the Afikomen.
In a nutshell, at the beginning of the Passover Seder, half of the middle of three pieces of Matzah (called the Afikomen, meaning “dessert” in Aramaic) is hidden, and Seder service can only conclude once a child locates the Afikomen. In my family, the reward for finding the Afikomen ranges from a silver dollar to some Passover chocolate. This fun custom aims to keep young people interested in the Passover traditions.
One year, as my uncle went to hide the Afikomen my brother secretly excused himself from the table to spy. When the time arrived to search for the prized unleavened bread, my brother calmly walked over to the couch and sat down. As us kids frantically rummaged through every drawer, under every rug, and behind every crevice, my brother remained seated. He finally stood up, dramatically reached under his couch cushion and retrieved the broken Matzah. We all demanded a re-do. I don’t remember who legitimately found the Afikomen, but I know it wasn’t me because I was laughing far too hard to participate in the search.
This year, my family’s Afikomen competition may be slimmer than usual. However, no matter the economy, these types of memories and traditions hold a family close even if you have to spend a holiday apart.
Please share your Passover traditions in the comments below.