During the festival of Purim, one of the most traditionally served in the table of the Jews is the Hamantaschen. The Purim festive meal is never complete without it and every house has its unique flavors and recipes for this food. Hamantaschen is considered to be a Purim treat.
The Origin of Hamantaschen
The word “Hamantaschen” is a Yiddish word which means “Haman’s pocket” where it is rumoured that all the bribe money was put in his pocket. Hamantaschen is a small triangular shaped cookie or pastry often made with yeast and filled with a mixture of poppy seed, honey or prune paste. Its shape is formed by folding in the sides of circular shaped dough, with filling on the center.
The pastries symbolized the defeat of Haman, the famous villain in the Purim story according to the Book of Esther and so it also resembles the “ears of Haman” which is “Oznei Haman in Hebrew.” It is believed that Haman’s ear was clipped because of humiliation when he entered the King’s treasury. Some explanation says that before Haman was hanged in gallows, his ears were cut off as their custom for criminals was.
Why do Jews eat Hamantaschen on Purim
It is a customary for the Jews to eat Hamantaschen on Purim because this pastry causes them to remember the painful defeat of Haman when his plan was foiled and the table was turned in favour of them.
It has already become a tradition to have Hamantaschen in their meal in the afternoon. As this tradition was passed on to generation, there were many flavours and fillings created and invented beside its traditional poppy seed filling. Some are filled with chocolates, apple preserves, cherry, strawberries, cheese, dates, nuts or caramel.