If you’re not Jewish or if you are Jewish and don’t celebrate Passover, you may not know what Afikomen is. Briefly, we celebrate Passover to remember how the Jews suffered when we were slaves in Egypt a few thousand years ago and to thank God for setting us free. To celebrate the family gets together for a Seder, which is the Hebrew word for order as there is a special order to the food and ritual.
Part of the ritual involves the one leading the Seder to break a piece of Matzo in two ( bread that didn’t have a chance to rise as the Jews had to leave in a hurry and took their bread out of the oven before it had a chance to rise, hence the flat bread or matzo) and put it in a napkin or special bag and hide it for after the meal. That is the Afikomen, which actually comes from the Greek word “epikomion” which means “that which comes after”.
The children look for all over the house and whoever finds it tells the leader of the service that if he wants it back he’ll have to pay. The two usually have a discussion and bicker about the price. (It’s such fun to watch) The child has the advantage because we can’t finish the Seder without the Afikomen and its usually late so depending on the skills of the child, he or she usually gets a hefty sum.
I had a 10 year old here yesterday. He had been here before and his father said he hasn’t stopped nagging him, since the last time he was here, to come back. He looked at everything and asked questions and took what he wanted and paid out his own money. He was the one in his family who had found the Afikomen.