Afikoman (Hebrew: אֲפִיקוֹמָן based on Greek epikomon [ἐπὶ κῶμον] or epikomion [ἐπικώμιον], meaning "that which comes after" or "dessert") is a half-piece of matzo which is broken in two during the early stages of the Passover Seder and set aside to be eaten as a dessert after the meal.
Based on the Mishnah in Pesahim 119b, the afikoman is a substitute for the Passover sacrifice, which was the last thing eaten at the Passover Seder during the eras of the First and Second Temples and during the period of the Tabernacle. The Talmud states that it is forbidden to have any other food after the afikoman, so that the taste of the matzo that was eaten after the meal remains in the participants' mouths. Since the destruction of the Temple and the discontinuation of the Korban Pesach, Jews eat a piece of matzo now known as afikomen to finish the Passover Seder meal.
Customs around the afikoman vary, though they often share the common purpose of keeping children awake and alert during the Seder until the afikoman is eaten. Following Ashkenazi customs, the head of household may hide the afikoman for the children to find, or alternatively, the children may steal the afikoman and ransom it back. Chabad tradition discourages stealing the afikoman lest it lead to bad habits.
Following Mizrahi customs, the afikoman may be tied in a sling to a child's back for the duration of the Seder.