Purim Quiz: Question 3

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Hamantashen is a triangular, three-cornered filled pastry which is traditionally served on the Jewish festival of Purim. Why do Jews eat hamantashen pastries on Purim?

There are numerous interpretations on this hat and its three corners, one even pertaining to French history. How many explanations and symbols can you find?

7 thoughts on “Purim Quiz: Question 3

  1. I’m not Googling for answers (yet), but I’m thinking the French history has something to do with Napoleon (and his hat)? I read (yesterday) that Hamantaschen are a rather recent Eastern European invention (meaning 100s of years old instead of 1000s).

    I wonder when Ears of Haman, the Sephardic version, got started.

  2. Napoleon and the Jews: In 1791, France became the first European country to emancipate its Jewish population. By the French Revolution in 1796, France, Britain, and the Netherlands had granted the Jews equal rights with gentiles. Napoleon also freed the Jews in areas he conquered.
    For more details, there is a wikipedia article on the subject.

  3. I have no idea. But I saw these on Robin’s blog too and they looked just as tasty there!

    But … I don’t believe Napoleon wore a tri-corner hat. At least not in any of the portraits I’ve seen of him. He had that funky sideways semi-circular deal going I thought. Could’ve been the angle though I suppose. Sounds like with or without the hat there’s a pretty strong connection anyway.

  4. I grew up hearing them called “Haman’s hats” in English, though I’m not certain that those who call them that know much about ancient Persian fashion.

    I think Ilana Epstein (who writes on food and life for the Jerusalem Post) once told me that the hidden filling in the cookies represents the “hester panim,” or the hidden hand of God in the story of Esther.

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