Unpacking Mimouna: One of Israel’s sweetest hidden Jewish traditions.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu celebrating Mimouna in Or Akiva. (Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Did you know that Israel throws HUGE parties all over the country immediately after Passover? Festivals filled with thousands of people, Mizrahi pop music, and all-you-can-eat pastries! Though not many American Jews have heard of the holiday of Mimouna, it’s one of the most joyous (and delicious) festivities in all of Israel.

A Mimouna celebration in Israel. (Photo: matzuva/flickr)

Originating in North Africa, Mimouna consists of dressing in traditional North African garments, dancing to Mizrahi music, and, of course, breaking our passover bread-lust with North African pastries! According to the midrash, Mimouna commemorates the moment when all of the Egyptians’ gold and jewelry washed up onto the other side of the red sea for the Israelites to enjoy. This was considered to be another miracle brought forth by God as the Jews journeyed into the promised land. Because of this Mimouna is a holiday of wealth, luck, prosperity, and fertility. It’s also why lots of gold can be found both in terms of festival decorations and personal jewelry pieces.

The holiday first appeared in Israel in the mid-60s and has since become more than just an annual North African Jewish festival– it has become an expression of the beauty of Mizrahi culture in the Jewish state.

Mofletta (Hebrew: מופלטה‎, also Mufleta, Mofleta, Moufleta etc.) is a Maghrebi Jewish pancake traditionally eaten during the Mimouna celebration, the day after Passover. (Photo: Elle Tzur)

The no. 1 most common food served during Mimouna are muflettas, a Moroccan fried bread traditionally served with honey, along with fruits and nuts such as almonds, oranges, and dates.