This is an undated black and white photograph showing men, women, and children celebrating the Mimouna festival celebrated by Moroccan Jews at the end of Pesach. The people, who seem to be seated on the ground, are seen singing, clapping, playing the tambourine, and generally taking part in the festivities. Some of the participants are wearing traditional Moroccan clothing, including embroidered dresses and the traditional hat, the fez.
Mimouna is celebrated on the day after Pesach and includes inviting friends and family to share traditional food in the home and in picnics and showcasing Moroccan-Jewish culture.
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Mimouna – Mimouna is a festival celebrated by Jews of Moroccan and North African descent on the day after Pesach (in Israel this is the night after the seventh day of Pesach). Participants often dress in traditional Moroccan costumes: a jalabiya for men and a kaftan for women. Celebrations begin at night and include lavish family gatherings during which mainly sweet treats are served, including a traditional sweet pancake called mufleta. One of the main elements of the holiday is the “open door” hospitality shown to all who want to participate. Participants are welcomed with the traditional blessing of תרבחו ותסעדו (eat and enjoy). The following day, many families go out into nature with their families and attend Mimouna events. The largest Mimouna gathering in Israel, with many thousand of participants, takes place in Sacher Park in Jerusalem. The holiday originated in Morocco in the eighteenth century and was a symbol of the good relations between the Jews and their Muslim neighbours. The name of the holiday, Mimouna, may refer to the original reason for its founding, as it derives from the name Maimon and possibly commemorated the death of the father of Maimonides (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon). Another suggestion for the origin of the name Mimouna is the word אמונה, emuna, meaning faith; Mimouna is also known as the festival of faith, continuing on from Pesach, the festival of redemption. According to this belief, participants in Mimouna celebrations express their faith in the coming of redemption.
Aliya from Morocco - From 1948 to 1956, more than 85,000 Jews emigrated from Morocco. They were motivated both by Zionism and the fear of living in an Arab country after Israel’s victory in the War of Independence in 1948. However, in the years 1951 and 1952, due to the social and economic difficulties of the new state, Israel limited immigration from North Africa and allowed only those who were young and healthy and had family in Israel to immigrate. A change in policy began in 1953 in light of the decline in immigration to Israel, the increase in emigration from Israel, and the deteriorating conditions for the Jews remaining in Morocco. From 1954 to 1955, fears intensified as Moroccan independence from France seemed likely. This led to increased terrorism in Morocco and concerns that the Moroccan government would ban Jews from emigrating. As a result, it was decided to immediately bring around 35,000 Jews from Morocco to Israel. Many of these immigrants were settled in development towns and villages in the peripheral areas of Israel.