So a Jewish Tradition on Passover that we do is my dad will hide the Afikoman somewhere in our house. The afikoman is a few pieces of matzah bread wrapped in usually a cloth napkin. And after the seder dinner, my siblings and I would run around the house and try to be the first person to find it. It was and still is extremely competitive, and the first person who finds it gets some cash. But the cash was not even the important part it is definitely just a pride thing. But I believe the meaning behind it is kind of convoluted. I think the tradition was mostly created to keep kids engaged at Passover dinner, because it can be really long and boring depending on which one you go to. Like I don’t think most people our age still do this but it’s always been a big deal in our household and we have yet to grow out of it. But on the deeper level, it’s supposed to represent the Jews’ liberation from Egypt, and like despite the fact that we found freedom from that, we are still always searching for a deeper, hidden freedom yet to be discovered? Like I said, convoluted.
My informant is of Ashkenazi descent, and is a participant of Judaism. She grew up under Jewish parents and a household that practiced Jewish traditions from a young age- though not enforced, she definitely had exposure to the culture ever since she could remember. She currently lives in South Carolina, where Jewish American heritage has long history compared to other Southern regions of the United States. She also comes from a family of four children, her being the third eldest, and they’ve all been practicing Jewish traditions together. This sense of family, tradition, and rivalry amongst siblings definitely had a factor as to why her family kept this tradition of Afikoman alive, even though my informant is currently 19 years old, which is older than what most Jewish people would consider appropriate to practice this tradition.
My informant and I watched a 2019 film titled “Uncut Gems” together, a film starring famous Jewish American actor Adam Sandler. In the film, there is a scene involving this very tradition of Afikoman. Enticed by this foreign concept, I had asked my informant to explain what that tradition was. The conversation took place in the Uber ride on our way back from the theater, in a comfortable environment where the only outsider listening to us was the driver.
Personally, I am a big fan of any traditions involving a ‘treasure hunt’ element. It adds so much engagement from participants, and it’s such a great tool to gather a large group of people. The tradition of Afikoman hunt has been a valuable one for my informant’s family, as it has been a source of entertainment and comradely amongst her siblings, and hearing about it was a great delight. With cash as the prize, I find no reason why her family should stop practicing this tradition.