With this New York Times article, the Mimouna has arrived in America. This typical Moroccan-Jewish feast, which concludes Passover, is already a national holiday in Israel, where politicians attend ‘industrial’ celebrations to curry favour with Mizrahi voters.
As the traditional sweets are prepared before Passover, they do not contain flour – except for the mouffleta pancake
For American Jews who can’t go too long without their favorite carbohydrates, the end of Passover offers nearly as much cause for celebration as the holiday itself. Many begin right at sundown, wolfing down pizzas. Then come the brownies or other foods with the leavening ingredients they have been avoiding in a nod to ancestors who had no time to let bread dough rise while fleeing Egypt.
Unbeknown to many Americans, however, Moroccan Jews have long marked the end of Passover with a more established ritual, a raucous tradition known as Mimouna. Soon after sunset on the last night of the holiday (observed this year on Friday or Saturday), they indulge in the first leavened food since Passover began: moufleta, a pan-cooked cake smeared with butter and honey.
A variety of other Moroccan sweets follow, on a long, elaborately decorated table that includes the requisite mint tea. For Jews in Israel, where many Moroccans immigrated in the decades after its founding in 1948, Mimouna is now practically a national holiday, as Jews of all backgrounds break the bread that has been temporarily forbidden.
It isn’t easy to find a Mimouna in America. I spent years trying to invite myself to one before finally attending two last year, in Manhattan and Brooklyn. But you can make your own and make it your own, as long as it includes moufleta.