Mimouna: A Mouthwatering Moroccan Moed

In Morocco, France, Israel, and Canada, Maghrebi Jews enjoy a custom of following the time of unleavened bread with an exuberant celebration of the return to eating chametz with a dinner heavy-laden with rich desserts. Those who have sold their chametz for Passover generally purchase it back on this day. In addition to the food traditions, many go the sea and walk barefoot in the water as a remembrance of the miraculous crossing of the Yam Suf, which, according to the tradition, occurred on the 23rd of the month of Nissan. The traditional colors associated with this feast are red and gold.1


The origin of the Mimouna (Heb. מימונה; Arab. ميمونة; Berber ⵎⵉⵎⵓⵏⴰ), a truly interfaith feast-ival, seems to be only about two-and-a-half centuries old (ca. mid-18th century). It has long been customary in Morocco, at the close of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for Jews to take a basket full of Passover delicacies to a Muslim acquaintance. The basket contained an egg and meat pie (a Jewish delicacy), matzah, and salads. As is typical of the traditional Eastern ceremony of hospitality, the Muslim host received the Jew and served him or her delicacies, especially fruit. The Muslim would also give the Jew a basket which would contain primarily milk, butter, flour, and yeast. As yeast was not generally available in the Jewish community at the end of Passover, this gift made it possible to prepare dough for bread right after the holy days. Neta Elkayam explains, “Moroccan Jewry’s narrative is not one of trauma or persecution. Through our Mimouna, we offer... a non-traumatized Judaism of sunshine, warm desert climates, joie de vivre and cordial relations with our non-Jewish neighbors.”

The name of this unique feast is believed by many to derive from that of Rabbi Maimon ben Yosef, father of the great Rishon-Era Sage Rambam (Maimonides). In Arabic-speaking communities, a second connection to the name is seen, as the Arabic word for wealth or fortune/​​​​​​​mazal is ميمون (mimoun), relating to the gold which was given to the fleeing Jews upon their exodus from Egypt. The name could also, possibly, have a connection to the Hebrew word for belief, i.e. emunah (אמונה).2 Another understanding ties mi mouna (my sweet-roll) in the Ladino language common to the Sephardim, many of whom settled Morocco upon their expulsion from Spain in the Inquisition period (1392 to 1492).


It is traditional to greet one another in Judeo-Arabic during this feast. The customary greeting is:

Tarveikhu utsa’adu!

תרבהו וצסעדו!

تربحوا وتسعدوا!

Feel comfortable and eat well! (or "Be prosperous and lucky!")

At the arrival of guests, a mint sprig is dipped in milk and eaten as a symbol of good fortune and new beginnings. We then greet one another on this day with a recitation of Mishlei 3:2-3, pronounced as a blessing.

(ב) כִּ֤י אֹ֣רֶךְ יָ֭מִים וּשְׁנ֣וֹת חַיִּ֑ים וְ֝שָׁל֗וֹם יוֹסִ֥יפוּ לָֽךְ׃ (ג) חֶ֥סֶד וֶאֱמֶ֗ת אַֽל־יַ֫עַזְבֻ֥ךָ קׇשְׁרֵ֥ם עַל־גַּרְגְּרוֹתֶ֑יךָ כׇּ֝תְבֵ֗ם עַל־ל֥וּחַ לִבֶּֽךָ׃

(2) For they will bestow on you length of days, years of life and well-being. (3) Let fidelity and steadfastness not leave you; bind them about your throat, write them on the tablet of your mind,

Liturgical Reading

(ד) וּמְצָא־חֵ֥ן וְשֵֽׂכֶל־ט֑וֹב בְּעֵינֵ֖י אֱלֹהִ֣ים וְאָדָֽם׃ (ה) בְּטַ֣ח אֶל־יְ֭הֹוָה בְּכׇל־לִבֶּ֑ךָ וְאֶל־בִּ֥֝ינָתְךָ֗ אַל־תִּשָּׁעֵֽן׃

(4) And you will find favor and approbation in the eyes of G-d and man. (5) Trust in HASHEM with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding.

(כב) בִּרְכַּ֣ת יְ֭הֹוָה הִ֣יא תַעֲשִׁ֑יר וְלֹֽא־יוֹסִ֖ף עֶ֣צֶב עִמָּֽהּ׃

(22) It is the blessing of HASHEM that enriches, and no toil can increase it.

(ג) גֹּ֣ל אֶל־יְהֹוָ֣ה מַעֲשֶׂ֑יךָ וְ֝יִכֹּ֗נוּ מַחְשְׁבֹתֶֽיךָ׃

(3) Entrust your affairs to HASHEM, and your plans will succeed.

(כא) רֹ֭דֵף צְדָקָ֣ה וָחָ֑סֶד יִמְצָ֥א חַ֝יִּ֗ים צְדָקָ֥ה וְכָבֽוֹד׃

(21) He who strives to do good and kind deeds attains life, success, and honor.

(יח) נֹצֵ֣ר תְּ֭אֵנָה יֹאכַ֣ל פִּרְיָ֑הּ וְשֹׁמֵ֖ר אֲדֹנָ֣יו יְכֻבָּֽד׃

(18) He who tends a fig tree will enjoy its fruit, and he who cares for his master will be honored.

(י) מִגְדַּל־עֹ֭ז שֵׁ֣ם יְהֹוָ֑ה בּֽוֹ־יָר֖וּץ צַדִּ֣יק וְנִשְׂגָּֽב׃

(10) The name of HASHEM is a tower of strength to which the righteous man runs and is safe.

(יא) כִּי־בִ֭י יִרְבּ֣וּ יָמֶ֑יךָ וְיוֹסִ֥יפוּ לְּ֝ךָ֗ שְׁנ֣וֹת חַיִּֽים׃

(11) For through me your days will increase, and years be added to your life.

(נג) בָּר֖וּךְ יְהֹוָ֥ה לְ֝עוֹלָ֗ם אָ֘מֵ֥ן ׀ וְאָמֵֽן׃

(53) Blessed is HASHEM forever; Amein and Amein.

(א) משֶׁה קִבֵּל תּוֹרָה מִסִּינַי, וּמְסָרָהּ לִיהוֹשֻׁעַ, וִיהוֹשֻׁעַ לִזְקֵנִים, וּזְקֵנִים לִנְבִיאִים, וּנְבִיאִים מְסָרוּהָ לְאַנְשֵׁי כְנֶסֶת הַגְּדוֹלָה. הֵם אָמְרוּ שְׁלשָׁה דְבָרִים, הֱווּ מְתוּנִים בַּדִּין, וְהַעֲמִידוּ תַלְמִידִים הַרְבֵּה, וַעֲשׂוּ סְיָג לַתּוֹרָה:

(1) Moses received the Torah at Sinai and transmitted it to Joshua, Joshua to the elders, and the elders to the prophets, and the prophets to the Men of the Great Assembly. They said three things: Be patient in [the administration of] justice, raise many disciples, and make a fence round the Torah.

(א) רַבִּי אוֹמֵר, אֵיזוֹהִי דֶרֶךְ יְשָׁרָה שֶׁיָּבֹר לוֹ הָאָדָם, כֹּל שֶׁהִיא תִפְאֶרֶת לְעוֹשֶׂיהָ וְתִפְאֶרֶת לוֹ מִן הָאָדָם.

(1) Rabbi Said: which is the straight path that a man should choose for himself? One which is an honor to the person adopting it, and [on account of which] honor [accrues] to him from others.

(א) עֲקַבְיָא בֶן מַהֲלַלְאֵל אוֹמֵר, הִסְתַּכֵּל בִּשְׁלשָׁה דְבָרִים וְאִי אַתָּה בָא לִידֵי עֲבֵרָה. דַּע מֵאַיִן בָּאתָ, וּלְאָן אַתָּה הוֹלֵךְ, וְלִפְנֵי מִי אַתָּה עָתִיד לִתֵּן דִּין וְחֶשְׁבּוֹן. מֵאַיִן בָּאתָ, מִטִּפָּה סְרוּחָה, וּלְאָן אַתָּה הוֹלֵךְ, לִמְקוֹם עָפָר רִמָּה וְתוֹלֵעָה. וְלִפְנֵי מִי אַתָּה עָתִיד לִתֵּן דִּין וְחֶשְׁבּוֹן, לִפְנֵי מֶלֶךְ מַלְכֵי הַמְּלָכִים הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא:

(1) Akabyah ben Mahalalel said: mark well three things and you will not come into the power of sin: Know from where you come, and where you are going, and before whom you are destined to give an account and reckoning. From where do you come? From a putrid drop. Where are you going? To a place of dust, of worm and of maggot. Before whom you are destined to give an account and reckoning? Before the King of the kings of kings, the Holy One, blessed be he.

(א) בֶּן זוֹמָא אוֹמֵר, אֵיזֶהוּ חָכָם, הַלּוֹמֵד מִכָּל אָדָם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (תהלים קיט) מִכָּל מְלַמְּדַי הִשְׂכַּלְתִּי כִּי עֵדְוֹתֶיךָ שִׂיחָה לִּי.

(1) Ben Zoma said:Who is wise? He who learns from every man, as it is said: “From all who taught me have I gained understanding” (Psalms 119:99).

(א) בַּעֲשָׂרָה מַאֲמָרוֹת נִבְרָא הָעוֹלָם. וּמַה תַּלְמוּד לוֹמַר, וַהֲלֹא בְמַאֲמָר אֶחָד יָכוֹל לְהִבָּרְאוֹת, אֶלָּא לְהִפָּרַע מִן הָרְשָׁעִים שֶׁמְּאַבְּדִין אֶת הָעוֹלָם שֶׁנִּבְרָא בַעֲשָׂרָה מַאֲמָרוֹת, וְלִתֵּן שָׂכָר טוֹב לַצַּדִּיקִים שֶׁמְּקַיְּמִין אֶת הָעוֹלָם שֶׁנִּבְרָא בַעֲשָׂרָה מַאֲמָרוֹת:

(1) With ten utterances the world was created. And what does this teach, for surely it could have been created with one utterance? But this was so in order to punish the wicked who destroy the world that was created with ten utterances, And to give a good reward to the righteous who maintain the world that was created with ten utterances.

(א) שָׁנוּ חֲכָמִים בִּלְשׁוֹן הַמִּשְׁנָה, בָּרוּךְ שֶׁבָּחַר בָּהֶם וּבְמִשְׁנָתָם:
רַבִּי מֵאִיר אוֹמֵר כָּל הָעוֹסֵק בַּתּוֹרָה לִשְׁמָהּ, זוֹכֶה לִדְבָרִים הַרְבֵּה. וְלֹא עוֹד אֶלָּא שֶׁכָּל הָעוֹלָם כֻּלּוֹ כְדַי הוּא לוֹ. נִקְרָא רֵעַ, אָהוּב, אוֹהֵב אֶת הַמָּקוֹם, אוֹהֵב אֶת הַבְּרִיּוֹת, מְשַׂמֵּחַ אֶת הַמָּקוֹם, מְשַׂמֵּחַ אֶת הַבְּרִיּוֹת. וּמַלְבַּשְׁתּוֹ עֲנָוָה וְיִרְאָה, וּמַכְשַׁרְתּוֹ לִהְיוֹת צַדִּיק וְחָסִיד וְיָשָׁר וְנֶאֱמָן, וּמְרַחַקְתּוֹ מִן הַחֵטְא, וּמְקָרַבְתּוֹ לִידֵי זְכוּת, וְנֶהֱנִין מִמֶּנּוּ עֵצָה וְתוּשִׁיָּה בִּינָה וּגְבוּרָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (משלי ח) לִי עֵצָה וְתוּשִׁיָּה אֲנִי בִינָה לִי גְבוּרָה. וְנוֹתֶנֶת לוֹ מַלְכוּת וּמֶמְשָׁלָה וְחִקּוּר דִּין, וּמְגַלִּין לוֹ רָזֵי תוֹרָה, וְנַעֲשֶׂה כְמַעְיָן הַמִּתְגַּבֵּר וּכְנָהָר שֶׁאֵינוֹ פוֹסֵק, וֶהֱוֵי צָנוּעַ וְאֶרֶךְ רוּחַ, וּמוֹחֵל עַל עֶלְבּוֹנוֹ, וּמְגַדַּלְתּוֹ וּמְרוֹמַמְתּוֹ עַל כָּל הַמַּעֲשִׂים:

(1) The sages taught in the language of the mishnah. Blessed be He who chose them and their teaching. Rabbi Meir said: Whoever occupies himself with the Torah for its own sake, merits many things; not only that but he is worth the whole world. He is called beloved friend; one that loves G-d; one that loves humankind; one that gladdens G-d; one that gladdens humankind. And the Torah clothes him in humility and reverence, and equips him to be righteous, pious, upright and trustworthy; it keeps him far from sin, and brings him near to merit. And people benefit from his counsel, sound knowledge, understanding and strength, as it is said, “Counsel is mine and sound wisdom; I am understanding, strength is mine” (Proverbs 8:14). And it bestows upon him royalty, dominion, and acuteness in judgment. To him are revealed the secrets of the Torah, and he is made as an ever-flowing spring, and like a stream that never ceases. And he becomes modest, long-suffering and forgiving of insult. And it magnifies him and exalts him over everything.

Birkhat ha'Ilanot

Adherents also traditionally visit an fruit orchard or vineyard to recite Birkhat ha'Ilanot (Blessing of the Trees).

Baruch atah Hashem Elokeinu melekh haolam

shelo chasar b’olamo klum u’bara bo b’riyot tovot v’elanot tovim l’hanot bahem b’nay adam.

רַב מְשַׁרְשְׁיָא אָמַר: הַאי נַרְקוֹם דְּגִינוּנִיתָא — מְבָרְכִין עִלָּוֵיהּ ״בּוֹרֵא עֲצֵי בְשָׂמִים״. דְּדַבְרָא — ״בּוֹרֵא עִשְׂבֵי בְשָׂמִים״. אָמַר רַב שֵׁשֶׁת: הָנֵי סִיגְלֵי — מְבָרְכִין עֲלַיְיהוּ ״בּוֹרֵא עִשְׂבֵי בְשָׂמִים״. אָמַר מָר זוּטְרָא: הַאי מַאן דְּמוֹרַח בְּאֶתְרוֹגָא אוֹ בְּחַבּוּשָׁא אוֹמֵר: ״בָּרוּךְ שֶׁנָּתַן רֵיחַ טוֹב בַּפֵּירוֹת״. אָמַר רַב יְהוּדָה: הַאי מַאן דְּנָפֵיק בְּיוֹמֵי נִיסָן וְחָזֵי אִילָנֵי דְּקָא מְלַבְלְבִי, אוֹמֵר: ״בָּרוּךְ שֶׁלֹּא חִיסֵּר בְּעוֹלָמוֹ כְּלוּם וּבָרָא בּוֹ בְּרִיּוֹת טוֹבוֹת וְאִילָנוֹת טוֹבוֹת לְהִתְנָאוֹת בָּהֶן בְּנֵי אָדָם״. אָמַר רַב זוּטְרָא בַּר טוֹבִיָּה אָמַר רַב: מִנַּיִן שֶׁמְּבָרְכִין עַל הָרֵיחַ? — שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״כֹּל הַנְּשָׁמָה תְּהַלֵּל יָהּ״. אֵיזֶהוּ דָּבָר שֶׁהַנְּשָׁמָה נֶהֱנֵית מִמֶּנּוּ וְאֵין הַגּוּף נֶהֱנֶה מִמֶּנּוּ? — הֱוֵי אוֹמֵר: זֶה הָרֵיחַ.

Rav Mesharshiya said: Over this garden daffodil one recites: Who creates fragrant trees, while over a wild daffodil that grows in the field, one recites: Who creates fragrant plants. Rav Sheshet said: Over fragrant violets one recites: Who creates fragrant plants. Mar Zutra said: One who smells a citron [etrog] or a quince recites: Blessed…who gave pleasant fragrance in fruits. On a related topic, the Gemara cites that Rav Yehuda said: One who goes out during Nisan and sees trees that are blossoming recites: Blessed is He who has withheld nothing from His world, and has created in it beautiful creatures and trees for human beings to enjoy. Rav Zutra bar Toviya said that Rav said: From where is it derived that one recites a blessing over scent? As it is stated: “Let every soul praise the Lord” (Psalms 150:6). He explains the verse: What is it from which the soul derives benefit and the body does not derive benefit from it? You must say: That is scent. Even over items from which only the soul derives benefit, one must recite a blessing and praise G-d.

(א) הרואה פרחי האילן מה מברך ובו סעיף אחד: היוצא בימי ניסן וראה אילנות שמוציאין פרח אומר בא"י אמ"ה שלא חיסר בעולמו כלום [דבר] וברא בו בריות טובות ואילנות טובות ליהנות בהם בני אדם ואינו מברך אלא פעם אחת בכל שנה ושנה ואם איחר לברך עד אחר שגדלו הפירות לא יברך עוד:

(1) One who goes out in the month of Nisan and sees trees that have put forth flowers says, "Blessed are You, Hashem our G-d, King of the Universe, Who has not left anything lacking in the world and who has created in in good creations and good trees from which people can benefit." And this blessing can only be made once each and every year and if one delays until after the fruit has grown on the tree it is too late.

(ד) ואם איחר לברך וכו' - היינו אפילו לא ראה כלל מקודם אפ"ה אבד הברכה כיון שגדלו הפירות כ"מ בב"י אבל בא"ר הכריע לדינא דאם לא ראה מקודם לא אבד הברכה וכן משמע ג"כ בביאור הגר"א דאפילו כבר גדל הפרי לא אבד הברכה ומ"מ אם כבר גדל הפרי ונגמר כל צרכו שראוי לברך עליה שהחיינו משמע מפמ"ג וח"א ששוב אין כדאי לברך ברכה זו:

(ה) עד אחר שגדלו - אבל קודם שגדלו הפירות יוכל לברך ואפילו לא בירך בשעת ראיה ראשונה [תשובת מהרי"ל סי' קמ"ג]:

(4) If a tree blossomed in Nissan but one did not see it until later he may say the bracha as long as the fruit on the tree has not yet ripened.

(5) However, one who saw a fruit tree in bloom during the month of Nissan but forgot or neglected to recite a blessing, may only recite the bracha up until the fruit has begun to grow.

(א) ד) בשבת ויו"ט אין לברך ברכת האילנות שמא יטלטל האילנות או יקח בידו הפרחים להריח בהם או שמא יתלוש. מל"ח שם אות ט' ונראה לדברי המקו' שכתבו שע"י ברכה זו מברר ניצוצי הקדושה מן הצומח יש עוד איסור נוסף דבורר וע"כ אסור לברך ברכה זו בשבת ויו"ט.

On Shabbat and Yom Tov, one is not to recite Birkhat ha'Ilanot, lest the trees be shaken or the flowers thereof taken in their hands to smell them or they be torn off. Malach there is the letter teyt and it seems from the words of the Mako who wrote that through this blessing the sparks of holiness from the plant are clarified. There is another word of prohibition and therefore it is forbidden to bless this blessing on Shabbat and Yom Tov.

Shulchan d'Mimouna

An array of symbolic items adorn the Mimouna table:

  • flour (countless blessings)
  • silver (luck)
  • fish (in remembrance of the parting of the sea)
  • dates (fertility)
  • honey (happiness)
  • jam (sweet life)
  • flowers (beauty)

At the center of the table, a large bowl is filled to the brim with flour and five silver pieces. The number five represents the five fingers of the hamsa, said to ward of the evil eye and protect those who put up the symbol in their homes.

Among the traditional menu items are meringues, marzipan, pistachios, dates, and coconut confections, alongside the first leavened food of the season: moufleta -- a pan-cooked cake smeared with butter and honey. On account of the buttery topping of the moufleta, this is strictly a dairy-parve meal - no meat is served. Candied eggplant is a common main dish at Moroccan celebrations.

Havdalah d'Mimouna

The final custom of the day is to perform an abbreviated havdalah, using the wine only - no candle or besamim.

(ד) יקח הכוס בידו הימנית והבשמים בשמאלו ויאמר

(ה) כּוֹס־יְשׁוּע֥וֹת אֶשָּׂ֑א וּבְשֵׁ֖ם יְהֹוָ֣ה אֶקְרָֽא׃

(ו) אָנָּ֣א יְ֭הֹוָה הוֹשִׁ֘יעָ֥ה נָּ֑א, אָנָּ֣א יְ֭הֹוָה הוֹשִׁ֘יעָ֥ה נָּ֑א:

(ז) אָנָּ֥א יְ֝הֹוָ֗ה הַצְלִ֘יחָ֥ה נָּֽא. אָֽנָּ֥א יְ֝הֹוָ֗ה הַצְלִ֘יחָ֥ה נָֽא׃

(ח) הַצְלִיחֵֽנוּ, הַצְלִֽיחַ דְּרָכֵֽינוּ, הַצְלִֽיחַ לִמּוּדֵֽינוּ, וּשְׁלַח בְּרָכָה רְוָחָה וְהַצְלָחָה בְּכָל־מַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵֽינוּ, כְּדִכְתִיב יִשָּׂ֣א בְ֭רָכָה מֵאֵ֣ת יְהֹוָ֑ה וּ֝צְדָקָ֗ה מֵאֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׁעֽוֹ: לַיְּהוּדִ֕ים הָֽיְתָ֥ה אוֹרָ֖ה וְשִׂמְחָ֑ה וְשָׂשֹׂ֖ן וִיקָֽר׃ וּכְתִיב וַיְהִ֥י דָוִ֛ד לְכׇל־דְּרָכָ֖ו מַשְׂכִּ֑יל וַיהֹוָ֖ה עִמּֽוֹ׃

כֵּן יִהְיֶה עִמָּֽנוּ:

(ט) סַבְרִי מָרָנָן. ועונים: לְחַיִּים.

(י) בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה, אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגֶּֽפֶן:

(4) (Lift Cup)

(5) The Cup of Salvation, I shall Lift & in the Name of HASHEM I Shall call.

(6) Please HASHEM Save Now. Please HASHEM Save Now.

(7) Please HASHEM Give Success Now. Please HASHEM Give Success Now.

(8) Give us success & make prosper our matters & our [Torah] learning & send blessing, abundance & success to all our undertakings. As it is written “He shall receive a blessing from the HASHEM & benevolence from the G·d of his Salvation.” “To the Jews there was light & joy, happiness, & honor.” And as it is written “And David was prosperous in all his matters & G·d was with him.”

Thus should be with us always.

(9) Hearken, our masters / To Life

(10) Blessed are You, HASHEM, Our G·d, King of the Universe, Who creates the fruit of the vine.

(טו) בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה, אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶלֶֽךְ הָעוֹלָם, הַמַּבְדִּיל בֵּין קֹֽדֶשׁ לְחוֹל, וּבֵין אוֹר לְחֹֽשֶׁךְ, וּבֵין יִשְׂרָאֵל לָעַמִּים, וּבֵין יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי לְשֵֽׁשֶׁת יְמֵי הַמַּעֲשֶׂה. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה, הַמַּבְדִּיל בֵּין קֹֽדֶשׁ לְחוֹל:

(טז) שותה רביעית ומברך על הגפן

(15) Blessed are You, HASHEM, Our G·d, King of the Universe, Who distinguishes between the Holy & the mundane, & between light & dark, & between Yisrael & the Nations, & between Seventh Day & the Six Workdays. Blessed are You, HASHEM, Our G·d, King of the Universe, Who distinguishes between the Holy & the mundane. ...

(16) (Drink wine or juice.)


Though there is no specific traditional farewell greeting, the following Judeo-Arabic salutation is not uncommon.

Mimouna Jayida!

מימונה ג'עידה!

عيد ميمونة سعيد!

May you have a good Mimouna!


  1. "Une fête peu connue en Europe, La Mimouna". Harissa.com (25 Mar 2013; online: http://www.harissa.com/news/article/une-f%C3%AAte-peu-connue-en-europe-la-mimouna).
  2. Ilan Acoca, The Sephardic Book of Why: A Guide to Sephardic Jewish Traditions and Customs (Saarbruecken: Hadassa Word Press, 2016), 49-50.