No.Africa-to-Persia Trad’l Interfaith 24Hr Passover WrapParty: Mimouna!

Some terrific Jewish Maghrebi Gnawa background music by Ravid Kahalani for while you read, …but you might want to turn the volume down a little!  😀

      Among Sephardic and Mizrachi communities in Morocco, West Asia, Israel, Europe, the Americas, and other places Jews of Maghrebi heritage live, evening on the last day of Passover —this year, Tuesday, April 30begins a 24-hour neighborhood celebration of music, dance, and potluck feasting. Friends and relatives of all heritages fill homes, gardens and yards, spilling out into the streets as they share foods forbidden the eight days of Pesach.

Seattle 2023 Mimouna Festival Announcement cosponsored by  JIMENA (Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North iAfrica) and StandWithUs Northwest,  the Seattle Moishe House,  The Dreamcoat Initiative, and Moishe House Without Walls.

     Sweets are especially traditional, parallel to the three dates and other dishes customary in the communal Iftar (evening meal breaking the daily fast) of the month of Ramadan).

    Jimena Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa— is among organizations and community institutions that host Mimouna celebrations. Theirs are usually on the west coast, and folks elsewhere around the US and beyond may know of more. This year, this very evening, they are celebrating in the Bay area even as we read! Please use the link to find out more. 🙂

    How we would have loved to be there!

    But we can join them in spirit from here: follow along below as we explore some of the intertwined traditions, recipes, symbology, and music of the celebration. Get up and dance if you feel like it! — L’chaim!


 עברית: חמסה עם עין, דגים, המילה "חי" וקישוטי צמחים.
Ladino: Hamsa de metal en una pared, kon una palavra en ivrit, Hai - "Bivo". -- Polski: Ręka Miriam. --  Hand of fatima -- Hamsa with an eye, the word "life" in Hebrew, and plant and fish ornaments. A symbol of welcome, peace, and protection from harm, in many cultures around the middle east and north Africa, and wherever people from the region now live. This one was photographed by  Elisa Arteaga from Caracas, Venezuela

<big>like most timeless traditions, there are many theories (about the origins of what is) not only a feast, but a symbolic and spiritual event that marks the beginning of spring — a time full of (hope for abundance across the twelve months ahead). Muslims took part in the celebration too, bringing milk and honey, hametz flours (see below) and couscous to their Jewish neighbors. Entire communities would come together ( to bake and prepare, wishing each other) mutual productivity and prosperity for the coming year. People traveled from house to house, tasting sweets and celebrating with their neighbors. (In Israel, Mimouna is so popular among people of all back-grounds that the next day is usually unpaid off from work …to complete the full 24 hours of celebration … and perhaps sleep off the hangovers, if any.)…</big>

Ceramic mosaic of a khamsa in Tunisa, photograph 2014, probably on the wall of a home or business or house of worship.

<big>Lalla Mimouna saint,* celebrated by the Jews of the Maghreb, and known throughout the Maghreb, especially in Morocco and Algeria. The (coastal town) of Lalla Mimouna … in the province of Kenitra in Morocco bears (the saint’s) name. Jewish families in Tlemcen, Algeria, celebrate Mimouna…</big>


* “saint” is a rough translation not meaning quite the same as in English.

Some related wik pages & others:    Berber Jews Berbers(/Amazigh) (Barbary coast) Moroccan Jews Innov Gnawa “honors the strength of Moroccan national identity to transcend religious distinctions with a rare performance of the Jewish songbook of this ancient Moroccan musical tradition.” ■

<big>Sprinkle your guests with mint!</big> Iranian and Afghani Passover traditions include Seder participants playfully smacking each other with scallions right before singing “Dayenu” — it represents masters whipping slaves in ancient Mitzrayim. Read down for the mint sprinkling:

Hand of Fatima -- Image extracted from page 052 of TRAVELS IN TUNISIA by Alexander Graham- F.R.I.B.A. and ASHBEE (Henry Spencer) in the British Library. -- US Public Domain and in the public domain its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 70 years or less.

<big>In many communities, non-Jewish neighbors sell  chametz back to Jewish families as a beginning of the celebration (let the baking begin!): </big>

<big>Mechirah: … Until five twelfths of the way through Passover Eve, one may sell or give one’s chametz to a non-Jew (as one of the three ways of eliminating from the home all food substances forbidden for these eight days)…. Afterward, the non-Jew generally sells the chametz back to the original owners; however, there is no obligation to do so.</big>


<big>Moroccan and Algerian Jews throw open their homes … setting out a lavish spread of  traditional holiday cakes and sweetmeats. One of the holiday favorites is Mofletta.(MOFLETTA

Khamsas from Israel 2012. -- Usage with attribution permitted.

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 (ancient) times.

Typically, everyone at Mimouna celebrations is sprinkled with a mint sprig or other green dipped in milk, symbolizing good fortune and new beginnings.

Early in the day of the Mimouna, families go to the sea, splash water on their face, and walk barefoot in the water, (re-enacting) the miraculous crossing of the Reed Sea, which is held to have taken place on the last day of Passover…</big>

LALA Tamar “SHUFI FIYA” “شوفي فيّ” – Arabic/Hebrew – Gnawa/Sahraoui vibe – live session Written and composed with great love and admiration to the Gnaoua culture, based and inspired by the beautiful song, Ghzayel Meyel — “dedicated to the women to sing to each other with unconditional love — stay safe!”  On April 5, 2022 Morrocan & Israeli artists and consulates to the New England region celebrated Mimouna, dedicated in memory of Zohra El Fassia — Israeli-Moroccan singer and poet, first woman recording artist in Morocco and a pioneer of modern Arabic music — (featuring) musical performances by Grammy-nominated Samir LanGus (Morocco) and Itamar Borochov (Israel), as part of their collaboration on the Jewish Gnawa Project; a recording session from Agadir, Morocco, with singer Lala Tamar (Israel), and Mehdi Nassouli (Morocco); with a tribute to Jewish-Moroccan dances by Jackie Barzvi (U.S.), a Middle Eastern dancer and the creator of the Mizrachi Dance Archive. more info HERE

Jews of Fez, Morocco, c. 1900. From the 1901-1906 Jewish Encyclopedia, now in the public domain.
<big>Jews of Fez, Morocco, ca. 1900 ■ History of the Jews in Morocco ■ History of the Jews In Persia/Iran ■ History of the Jews in Algeria ■ History of the Jews in Tunisia ■ History of the Jews in Libya ■ History of the Jews in Egypt ■ History of the Jews in France ■ History of the Jews in Iraq ■ History of the Jews in Canada ■ History of the Jews in Turkey ■ History of the Jews in Syria ■ History of the Jews in Lebanon ■ History of the Jews in Serbia ■ …and so on, the Sephardic and Mizrachi communities.</big>

…Though (Mimouna) only began to be recorded in the middle of the 18th century…(7)

<big>…its derivation and etymology are ancient. Possibl(y the name comes from): “Rabbi Maimon ben Yosef” (father of the Rambam Maimonides) (perhaps to) mark the date of his birth or death the Hebrew word “emuna” (… אמונה‎ … “faith”) or “ma’amin” (… מאמין‎… “I believe”);… the Arabic word for “wealth” or “good luck” … as (midrash says that) on this day … the gold and jewelry of the drowned (pursuing army of) Egyptians washed up on the shore of the Red (Reed) Sea; … associated with “faith” and “belief” in immediate prosperity, as seen in its customs of matchmaking, and well-wishes for successful childbearing; …manna, which was the food (by which God sustained the mixed multitude Exodus 12:38 in Parashat Bo — Ex. 10:1– 13:16)…wandering in the wilderness…</big>


SEATED SHEPHERDESS, woodcut print, drawn by Jean-François Millet, engraved by Jean-Baptiste Millet  1830–75 -- Image use permitted under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.

​​(was an 8th century saint) celebrated by Moroccan Jews.  Émile Dermenghem tells an anecdote about her:  Abd al-Wahid b. Zayd wished to know who would be his neighbor in paradise and he was told, “O ‘Abdalwahid, you will have for neighbor Mimoûna the black one“.
  And where is she, this Mimoûna the black, he continued to ask with more audacity than discretion.
   At Banou-Un Tel, in Koûfa.
  He went to Koûfa and inquired about Mimoûna. It was, he is told, a madwoman who grazed sheep on the side of the cemetery.
  He found her praying. The flock was grazing all by itself and that was all the more wonderful because the sheep were mixed with wolves and the wolves did not eat the
sheep and the sheep were not afraid of the wolves …

Chirldren in costumes for Mimouna. Français : Minouna 2 - 29 September 2020
<big>Children in costume for Mimouna in France. Together with the food sharing from home to home, like <i>shalach manot,</i> this costume tradition suggests an echo of Purim a few weeks earlier.</big>


JIMENA email noted that since most grains are forbidden during the week of Passover, and time to prepare for Mimouna is short, desserts for the feast made in advance often are based on marzipan, nuts and fruit. Moufleta (mentioned above) is of wheat flour but very fast! See musical moffleta recipe video at the foot of the diary. Naturally, if any charoset actually remains from the week — I make a huge amount, myself, but magically there is rarely any left over! —  it will be enhanced for dessert-making, altho’ some North African recipes already include bananas, dates, pistachios and cardamom. More:

🍊 Mimouna: A Delicious Way to Celebrate the End of Passover ■ ■  🍊 Nosher. 8 Jewish Persian Dishes to Try, “From herbaceous kuku sabzi to comforting gondi, you’ll love every one!” ■ ■ 🍊 ibid The Jewish cuisines of Morocco, Tunisia and Libya “are influenced not only by Jewish traditions, but also the Mediterranean and Arabic cultures that surround them. Meals are often centered around vegetables or fish and couscous, and spiced with aromatic spices like turmeric, ginger, hot peppers, cinnamon, paprika, saffron, caraway and cumin…”  ■ ■ 🍊 recipes from  ■ ■ 🍊 Bimuelos/buñuelos, fried doughnuts originally from Spain with developed variations following expulsions of the Jews from Iberia, 1492 onward, such as baklava style, among others, at where you’ll also find carciofi alla giudìa, a Jewish recipe for fried artichoke that all denizens of Rome enjoy. Plus matzo pie with fillings of spinach and cheese (resembling spanikopita), or ground beef or lamb, other meats, seasonal spring vegetables like leeks, asparagus or artichokes, and for vegans with cashews, avocado and dairy-free shredded cheese. And more!  ■ ■ 🍊 Recipes from ■ ■ 🍊 Tangerines! “The name was first used for fruit coming from Tangier, Morocco”(3) As Jewish feminists know, Dartmouth College Jewish studies professor Susanna Heschel (daughter of Abraham Joshua Heschel) originated the idea of an orange on the Seder plate to represent the fruitfulness of gay and lesbian Jews, directing celebrants to eat an orange wedge and spit out the seeds in repudiation of homophobia and misogny. It’s popular also to say it’s a feminist act defying any men who say women don’t belong in the rabbinate (& House, & Senate, & WhiteHouse!) — yeah, like oranges don’t belong on the seder plate. Ha! Instead of having a messy orange to cut up, a tangerine per person peels nicely, you lose none of the delicious juice to drips, and you still get to spit pits! Why not for Mimouna too. Chances are, it will be mostly women preparing the celebration, after all! 😀 ■ ■ 🍊

SamirLangus  (Morocco) who partners with Itamar Borochov (Israel) on the Jewish Gnawa Project.


   <big>Mechtaly (speaking of one of her paintings): … the product of some personal research that sort of blew my mind suggesting strong ties between Gnaoua, Moroccan Mysticism and Judaism.

Lalla Mimouna is a saint often mentioned and revered by Gnaoua musicians.

   Some tell the story of how she saved a slave by showing up in the middle of the Sahara desert and offering him a water canteen when he was about to die of thirst. The slave, who was inspired by the sound of water in a leather canteen, later created Gnaoua music and told others the story of Mimouna, his savior.

   Interestingly, Lalla Mimouna today is a small village in the south of Morocco that was built around a water source named after the saint. Mimouna is also a festive occasion celebrated by Moroccan Jews at the end of Passover where Muslim neighbors traditionally visit Jewish homes carrying baked goods and leavened foods that aren’t allowed in Jewish homes during Passover. The story of Passover is a story of slavery, freedom, desert crossing and miracles, very similar to that of Gnaoua.

   What’s even more fascinating is that Gnaoua musicians (visit) the village of Lalla Mimouna every year around the time of Passover to pay their respect to Lalla Mimouna’s spirit in a three day pilgrimage. (There’s a lot of overlap in symbolism between the Gnaoua pilgrimage to Lalla Mimouna and Passover‘s exodus,) Passover commemorates the journey from spiritual slavery to spiritual freedom, which is a central concept in Gnaoua music….</big>

    This next video is of a recent celebration organized by the Mimouna Association, a Moroccan non-profit originating in 2007 as a Muslim student-run club at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, to promote Jewish heritage and interfaith dialogue around the country.(2) “One of the founding principles of the Association is to reclaim the cultural diversity of Morocco through its history…”




Musical Moufleta How-TO



religious symbols
Shabbat Shalom in hebrew characters.