Game: Afikomen Game

The Afikomen Game

The informant couldn’t remember what Afikomen means or whether the word is in Yiddish or Hebrew.

This is a children’s game that’s played during Passover. The informant explains that during Passover there is a service called a Seder. The ceremony comes with a book that spells out all the rituals and what order their supposed to go. The informant says that the service generally lasts about two hours. However there are people who try to finish it in one hour. The informant has lead Seder’s before and they tend to three hours long. At some point during the Seder the person leading the prayer breaks off a piece of matzo (explain) and usually hides it somewhere in the house. All the children get up and race through the house to find the Afikomen. However finds it first gets a prize usually money. It’s usually money because children are not allowed to eat sweets during Passover.

The informant in Passover most of the events and rituals are directly related to the history of the holiday or the Commandments. The Afikomen game is not related to holiday at all. According to the informant the game was created to help the children get through the Seder without disrupting it. She explained that the Seder lasts for hours and Passover has certain dietary restrictions, bread and candy are off limits. Basically the holiday isn’t very kid friendly. The informant says that some Rabbis try to justify its existence by saying that it symbolizes the search for freedom but it only exists to keep the children from getting bored

My informant says the game is not that important in itself but it is important it is related to Passover.

The informant mentioned that Passover is a ritualized holiday; every aspect has some historical or religious significance. I think it is interesting that a holiday as old and sacred as Passover has this completely unrelated game attached to it. Even though it was not originally part of the traditions it is still important enough that people try to justify its existence. Maybe being a useful way to keep children quiet during the ceremony outweighs the fact that has no symbolic significance.