Jewish communities across the globe have been celebrating the Passover holiday each year for millennia, commemorating the Exodus from Egypt and the freeing of the Jewish People. Moroccan Jews (and other Jewish communities today) celebrate the end of Passover with a festive evening, the Mimouna
Some trace its origins all the way back to the 16th century. Back then, as today, particularly in Israel, the Mimouna begins in the evening as Passover ends and continues until the following evening, with family outings, picnics, and barbecues, having become its own holiday!
The name Mimouna comes from the Messiah (M) and Emouna (imouna), faith, that is, the faith and hope to see the Messiah arrive. During this evening, families dress in colourful and joyful clothing, such as caftans, put out a lavish spread of food and symbolic objects, and open their doors to all those wishing to partake in the festivities. No invitation is necessary – it is customary that all are welcome
The Mimouna table showcases all the foods that were forbidden during Passover – couscous, cakes, sweets, mouffletas, and crepes, jams and honeys, flour, fava beans, butter, and buttermilk, as well as coins (silver or gold, based on local customs, hidden or not in a bowl of flour), fresh mint, and other delicacies.
Guests are welcomed with unique greetings such as “Trbho ou tsado” (be blessed and prosperous) and “Alallah Mimouna ambarkha massouda.” Prayers, blessings, and symbolic gestures fill the night, with themes of fertility, prosperity, and success.
Local customs and traditions of each family mean that no two Mimouna tables are identical, but the same festive spirit is present in each house, and those not hosting spend their evening going from one house to another, some calling it Mimouna-hopping! Nowadays this evening is celebrated by old and young, within and beyond the Moroccan Jewish community