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Mimouna Festival

MIMOUNA FESTIVAL

Moroccan and Jewish celebration of spring.

Mimouna is a springtime celebration marked by Jews in Morocco and elsewhere in North Africa. It begins on the evening that Passover ends and continues into the next day. Women set tables adorned with green stalks and filled with dried fruits and nuts, fava beans, wheat, honey, sweets, milk, a fish, and a crêpe prepared after Passover ended. Families visit each other throughout the night, with greetings expressing the beginning of a year full of merit and blessing. The following day, they go outdoors, picnicking in fields or near water.

In North Africa Mimouna entailed the cooperation of local Muslims who gave or sold green stalks and wheat to the Jews in the evening, sometimes loaned clothes to young people who would dress up in Muslim garb, and invited Jews to picnic on their land. From the mid-1960s, Moroccan Jews in Israel began celebrating the Mimouna picnic in mass gatherings that grew as large as 100,000 people by the end of the decade. The celebration expressed a desire to recognize their integration into the society, and the value of their traditions within it. It became a symbolic bridge between Moroccan Jews, by then the largest country-of-origin group in Israel, and other sectors of the country's population. Mimouna is now a standard part of Israeli society's standard cycle of festivals.


Bibliography


Goldberg, Harvey E. "The Mimuna and Minority Status of Moroccan Jews." Ethnology 17 (1978): 7587.


harvey e. goldberg

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