31July2014

What is Mimuna?

Adapted from the Joseph Project Update Newsletter

Immediately after the close of the seventh day of Passover is the Moroccan-Jewish festival called Israel's Mimuna festival.  

There has been a Jewish presence in Morocco since 70 CE.  Since then, the Moroccan Jews have migrated to other countries, including Israel, France and Turkey, taking the Jewish version of the celebration of the Mimouna festival with them.  One of the historical correlations prior to Islam in Morocco celebrates the physical freedom that the Hebrews experienced after being saved from the pursuing Egyptian army at the Sea of Reeds on the seventh day after fleeing Egypt.

Much of the Jewish population left Morocco at the time of the creation of Israel.  Muslims celebrated their own pagan version of this festival, which Moroccan Jews changed.  Jews did not eat outside of their homes during Passover which caused them to fall under suspicion of the Islamic rulers,  so the Moroccan Jews, immediately after Passover opened their doors to their neighbors for anyone to come and dine with blessings so as to keep the peace.

In Israel over 1,000,000 people are of Moroccan Jewish ancestry.  North African Jewish immigrants celebrated the Mimouna with their families after settling in Israel.  It was introduced as a national holiday in 1966.

During this festival people go from house to house visiting friends and family wearing traditional North African clothing, and eating sweet foods. The following day is devoted to family celebrations, visiting and hosting, and many public areas hosted hundreds of people for barbecues in the parks.

An interfaith holiday, Moroccan Jews would give all of their flour, yeast and grain that was remaining before Passover to their Muslim neighbors.  In return, the Muslim neighbors were often the first visitors to the Jews after Passover bringing them sweets and other food items that were now permissible.

Mimouna foods symbolize the Sea of Reeds where the miracle that G-d performed for the Hebrews took place on the seventh day after the Hebrews fled Egypt, that is, the miracle of the "splitting" of the Sea of Reeds by G-d through Moses' strike of his staff on the Sea that allowed the Hebrews to escape the pursuing Egyptian army.  Mimouna foods that are placed on the table include: a live fish swimming in a bowl of water, or fish on a plate with a bed of vegetables and lettuce, Moroccan sweet foods, mint tea and coins also symbolize the coins that were washed up on the shoreline after the Egyptian army drowned in the Sea of Reeds.  Mimuna is a nice remembrance of this miracle that took place.

It is called the holiday that makes the happiness Pesach exodus complete, with personal redemption.

For more information about the Joseph Project or the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America please visit www.MJAA.org.