Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Even before I made Aliyah I knew about the Moroccan Mimouna celebration that begins as soon as Pesach ends. I always wanted to go... it looked so fun and festive ! (and it IS !!)   Each year I would try to work out an arrangement, and each year, for different reasons, it never happened.  There used to be a huge celebration at a local Jerusalem park (Gan Sacher.) While I had hoped for a more intimate gathering, the one year I attempted to go to the large public happening, no one showed up ! The police and the television were expecting the crowd, as was I, so in the end, with no one there, television Channel One interviewed ME !! haha..I even wrote about it in my blog way back in 2009 (Chasing the Elusive Moufleta).

For some reason, Mimouna itself remained as elusive at the mufleta that i wrote about ! Until THIS year ! 

But first, what exactly IS Mimouna? While I could go into varied and perhaps more esoteric explanations regarding the origins of Mimouna, very simply it is a Moroccan or Jewish tradition of North Africa, a celebration that begins as Pesach ends. The tradition celebrates the freedom we won coming out of Egypt, the heavens are open for our prayers, and blessings for success and prosperity, for courtship and marriages are kept in mind this night.  Every one is dressed in his or her finest, tables are set with fine china and linen, there is a festive spirit, music and laughter. The hosts normally dress in traditional Moroccan clothing and many men wear the Red Fez of Fez, Morocco. 

The culinary star of the evening is the mufleta - a crepe, spread  and dripping deliciously with butter and honey - the first chametz after Pesach. Many other traditional sweets and delicacies, mint tea and fruit fill the table as well.  

This year, ironically, I was going to skip trying to go.  Weary of never finding a celebration to go to, I said, maybe next year !! But the heavens were smiling on me and as I sat at my computer I heard the unmistakable sounds of Mimouna in my neighborhood.  I even wrote about it on Facebook.  Finally I decided to go out and walk down the street, to get a closer look.  I knew that here in Israel, I COULD just go knock on the door and most likely be welcomed .  What I didn't know was that the tradition of Mimouna is to leave your door open and welcome guests without their needing invitations. 

And that's exactly what happened.  As I drew near the house with all the music (just 2 doors down), I was waved into the home with open arms and special hospitality. I felt like I was the honored guest ! (And in fact I was ! ) As is the custom I was led to the table laden with food, a mufleta was prepared for me, and offered with great delight and fanfare. As I ate it, honey and butter dripping down my fingers, many of the guests came up to me to ask after my well being, leading me to the mirpeset where men were singing and chanting tradtional songs, with the music of the oud blending in with their voices.  It was very sweet.   

That's Mimouna... a very sweet tradition, with sweet food and sweet people.  I am so glad I finally had the privilege of joining in, meeting my neighbors in such a special way.  

I share these pictures with the permission of the family, even knowing it was my first attempt at photographing with my cell phone ! ha! They look more like impressionist paintings than photos but I hope you enjoy  them.  I was even given permission to photograph the women patting out and cooking the mufleta crepes in the kitchen.  

It was a chag sameach !!

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