New York Mimouna: A Festive Moroccan Jewish Festival


The celebration begins after nightfall on the last day of Passover. In many communities, non-Jewish neighbors sell chametz back to Jewish families as a beginning of the celebration. Moroccan and Algerian Jews throw open their homes to visitors, after setting out a lavish spread of traditional holiday cakes and sweet.

One of the holiday favorites is Mofletta.  A mufleta is a mix between  a crepe, beghrir and msemmenThe table is also laid with various symbols of luck and fertility, with an emphasis on the number “5,” such as five pieces of gold jewelry or five beans arranged on a leaf of pastry. The repetition of the number five references the five-fingered hamsa amulet common in both Jewish and Muslim North African and Middle Eastern communities from pre-modern times. Typically all those in attendance at a Mimouna celebration are sprinkled with a mint sprig or other green dipped in milk, symbolizing good fortune and new beginnings.

Mimouna – New York Jewish Guide

In addition, Zaben (white almond nougat) marozia (fried raisins with nuts) and mazun (fruit jam) also feature prominently. Plates of flour decorate the table, which is often topped with gold coins, oil or beans. Live fish are often seen at Mimouna celebrations due to their association with protection and fertility.

Zaben -Mimouna- New York Jewish Guide

Early in the day of the Mimouna, families go to the sea, splash water on their face, and walk barefoot in the water, to replay the scene of the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea, which is held to have taken place on the last day of Passover.

Others say that the name is derived from the Arabic word for “wealth” and “good luck” or from the Hebrew word emuna or ma’amin – both of which mean “faith” or “belief”, which reflect Mimouna as a celebration of faith and trust in God.  It was at the crossing of the Red Sea that the entire nation witnessed the awesome power and might of God which was an experience that strengthened their emuna (faith).

Bahguiya- Mimouna- New York Jewish Guide

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Mimouna – New York Jewish Guide

New York Jewish Guide – Meyer Harroch