Meaning and Fun with the Afikomen by Eric Edidin

If you're a kid, or a kid at heart, one of the most fun traditions associated with Passover is hiding--and finding--the afikomen. It is also a great opportunity to teach and engage children, and like many seder traditions, it is laden with spiritual and practical meanings.


At the seder table, three matzahs are placed in a stack. Near the beginning of the seder, the middle matzah is broken in two pieces, and the larger piece of this matzah is called the afikomen.


Why do we wrap the afikomen? One explanation is we wrap the afikomen to re-enact the way that the Sons of Israel carried the dough out of Egypt.

In fact, some have a tradition of throwing the afikomen over their shoulder to symbolize schlepping it out of Egypt. Watch out for crumbs!


So why hide the afikomen? A spiritual answer is that hiding the afikomen symbolizes that the Exodus was only the beginning of the process of redemption, part of it is still hidden.

A more practical answer is that many of the customs are geared towards keeping the children awake for the re-telling of the story of our Exodus, which is the primary Mitzvah (commandment) of the evening. Consequently, the custom has developed that after being “hidden” the children leave the table and attempt to find it, energizing them.

For adults that tend to fall asleep at the table, some families have the kids hide the afikomen and an adult attempt to find it.


Anticipation about finding the afikomen is a great way to engage children in the days leading up to Passover.

Here are a few fun pre-Pesach project links:

Afikomen Bag Craft via

Afikomen Bag in 30 Minutes via Bible Belt Balabusta

Afikoman Bag for Passover via Tori Avey

Here are some book links:

Hoppy Passover by Linda Glaser

Company's Coming by Joan Holub

Kippi and the Missing Matzah by Louise Gikow.

And here is a link from great games and projects for seder night to keep the kids engaged:

On seder night, to break the ice and get the kids geared up, our family has a tradition right before the haggadah reading to dress up in costumes and re-enact the Exodus story. Everybody gets a role in the play. Red headbands are for the Egyptians, blue headbands are for Jews. We put our family dog in a laundry basket to symbolize baby Moses being sent down the river. Here is a link to the script we use.


Attached is a picture of us in costume.

haggadah Section: Tzafun