Tag Archives: hidden matzah

Matzah Hunt


During Passover, the informant’s grandparents would hide two pieces of matzo (one for him, the other for his sister) that they would then search for. Sometimes, this would involve a game of “hot or cold”. If they found the pieces of matzo, they would get a bit of money as well.


The informant is not Jewish, but rather considers themself a mix of various ethnicity, citing Jewish as one, but mentioning that he was mostly Christian and Scottish, with a bit of Native American ancestry.


When looking further into the matzah hunt, I found out that there’s quite a bit of history and symbolism behind it. The bread is part of a group of three matzo, and the one that’s hidden is broken off from the middle one of the three pieces. It is then wrapped in a napkin and hidden somewhere in the house. In terms of symbolic importance, it’s referred to as either representing the sacrifice that was once offered at the temple in Jerusalem, which speaks to the historic and cultural importance of the activity. Alternatively, it can be seen as a way of representing how one must set aside a portion of what they own for the less fortunate. With such an important symbolic represented here, it’s interesting to see it applied to a game for children to play. Judging by the informant’s recollection of the event, I can’t imagine the player of this activity has much awareness of its importance. As a result, they just see it as a game they can earn something from if they win. Perhaps this can be seen as the way folk practices apply in different ways to different people. While the children see a fun game, the adults see a piece of symbolism that represents them as a people, and said children do not learn such symbolism until they are much older.