During the Passover Seder, we do numerous things to keep children engaged with the story. We pour wine out, we eat foods out of order, we drink numerous cups of wine, just to keep children engaged. One of the things children enjoy the most is searching for the Afikoman. The Afikoman is larger half of the middle of the three matzahs that is broken into two early in the Seder. The Afikoman is placed in an Afikomen bag and then hidden by the leader who then bargains with whoever finds the Afikomen, hopefully in the bag and still intact.
The Afikomen bag is exactly what it sounds like – a bag to place food in. It is generally padded so the matzah does not get broken. It generally has a way to close it, this is usually a drawstring or a ribbon. This aside, the Afikomen bag can be any shape or colour, with any design.
Generally, the material of the Afikomen bag is a fabric, usually cotton or silk. The top usually has a drawstring. The design on the afikomen bag can be practically anything; the most popular designs are Jerusalem, flowers or items from the seder, such as cups of wine, a depiction of the bitter herb and the like. Other less common designs include a Jewish star, the Kotel, the 7 species, crowns or depiction of something related to the Exodus from Egypt, such as the Crossing of the Red Sea or the pillars of fire and cloud leading the Jews out of Egypt.
Afikoman bags make for amazing gifts and are a great way of adding a touch of playfulness and whimsy to your Jewish Holidays.
Afikoman Bags Guide
There is a time-honored tradition for children to search for the Afikoman during the Passover Seder meal and bargaining with parents for some sort of prize in exchange for it, hopefully in one piece.
What is the Afikoman and what is an Afikoman Bag?
The Afikoman is the last thing eaten at the Seder. The term comes from Aramaic and means “Desert. The Afikoman is the larger half of one of the three Matzahs that is broken at the beginning of the Seder meal. Afikoman bags are simply bags that hold the Afikoman until it is eaten towards the end of the Passover Seder.
What is “Searching for the Afikoman?”
During the Passover Seder, the tradition is to keep all present involved in the discussion of the Exodus. Consequently, there are things that are done to pique children’s interest, such as not starting the meal immediately, drinking four cups of wine. Hiding the Afikoman is another way to keep children awake and engaged during the telling of the story of the Exodus so that they will ask questions.
Materials used in Afikoman Bags
Afikoman bags are made of fabric. The more expensive Afikoman bags are made from silk. Most Afikoman bags are made from cotton or another fabric which can be easily washed. The velvet that is used in other Judaica items such as Kippot and Tallit bags are not used in this case, mainly because they are difficult to clean. The bags are usually closed with a drawstring to allow easy access to the Matzah, although some closed with zippers.
Designs on Afikoman Bags
Afikoman bags can be decorated with almost any Judaica motif. However, they all have the word “Afikoman” embroidered on it in Hebrew. Usually the decorations relate to Passover; some common decorations include phrases from the Passover Haggadah Text such as “Tonight we lean” or the Biblical name for Passover “The Festival of Matzah”. Other common decorations include the general items one can find on other Judaica items such as floral patterns, the seven species of fruits and grains Israel is known for, Jerusalem and items used on Jewish holidays such as goblets and wine bottles.
Some other designs used on Afikoman bags are child-friendly designs including phrases such as “I found it!” or “I’m hiding!” These Afikoman bags also have anthropomorphized matzahs and that have facial expressions, hands and feet.
In addition to these designs, the entire bag may be different colours and shades.