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Mimouna Holiday:

The Mimouna Holiday is a Moroccan Jewish (Sephardic) festival that is usually held on the day after the Passover holiday is over. Mimouna is a celebration originating among "Maghrebim" (North African Jews). It marks the start of spring and the ability to once again eat chametz, the bread products that are forbidden during the Passover holiday.(1)

The Name Of The Holiday:

The origination of the name of the holiday is not clear, however some traditional beliefs about its origination exist. It is popularly treated as a celebration of the Rambam, Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, the great medieval Torah luminary, for whom many say the festival is named.(1)

Others say that the name Mimouna derives from the Arabic word for “wealth” and “good luck,” or the Hebrew word “emuna” (faith) or “ma’amin” (believe). This theory asserts that the holiday signifies belief in both the past Jewish redemption from the Egyptians and the future Messianic redemption. Linking the month (Nissan) of Israel's Passover redemption holiday to the future Messianic redemption at the same time on the calendar (again the month of Nissan), is believed to be an act of faith. Weather the Messianic redemption comes during the Passover holiday (which is true biblical Moroccan tradition) or any other part of the month of Nissan.(2)

Customs And Traditions:

Mimouna is also associated more with "faith" and "belief" in immediate prosperity, as seen with the customs of matchmaking and well wishes in successful childbearing.(2)

The celebration begins after nightfall on the last day of Passover. In many communities, non-Jewish neighbors sell bread products 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 sweetmeats. One of the holiday favorites is Mofletta. The 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.(2)

In Israel, the Mimouna has become a popular annual happening featuring outdoor parties, picnics and BBQs. After settling in Israel, Jewish immigrants from North Africa (Maghrebim) celebrated the Mimouna with their families. In 1966, it was introduced as a national holiday, and has been adopted by members of other ethnic groups. One source estimated that nearly two million people in Israel now participate in Mimouna festivities.(2)

Traditionally, the celebration begins after nightfall on the last day of Passover. Moroccan, Tunisian and Algerian Jews throw open their homes to visitors, after setting out a lavish spread of post Passover holiday cakes and sweetmeats. Mimouna is often celebrated with outdoor parties, picnics, and BBQs sometimes attended by Israel's Prime Minister and President along with other political officials in Israel's Jerusalem's Talpiot neighborhood.(1)

Messianic Hope:

med_messianic_sealMimouna demonstrates the Jewish people's faith in the coming of the Redemption, one of the Rambam's 13 Principles of Jewish belief.  As Nissan is the month of redemption from Egypt and is said by the Talmud  to be the month in which the future redemption will occur, If the Messiah has not arrived by the festival's end, the celebration emphasizes unswerving faith that he will arrive one day, that we are living in a period of emerging redemption. This is in accordance with the Rambam's 12th principle: "I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah. And though he may be delayed, I will await his coming every day."(1)

Mimouna also demonstrates the unity of Israel due to the custom of many not to eat in the homes of their neighbors on Passover because of personal stringencies pertaining to Kashrut on the holiday. Thus, Jews go to one another's homes to celebrate and partake of food at the end of Passover to show that the nation's hearts are united.(1)

Finally, Mimouna expresses our hope the abundance of Passover will continue through the year.



1). A7 News Tuesday April 26, 2011 Daily Email


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