Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The seventh day of Hanucah is Tunisian Girls' Day

Tunisian Jews hold a special celebration on the seventh day of Hanucah,the first of Tevet. On this day, Jews from Tunisia mark Rosh Hodesh El-bnat, the new moon for girls.

The celebration commemorates the story of Judith, which is not included in the Bible.

city of Bethulia was besieged by the army of Holofernes, a general of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar. Holofernes was killed by Judith, a young widow who, with divine inspiration, saved her people.

She went to the enemy camp and by her beauty captivated Holofernes. She agreed to sit at his table.

Judith cut off the head of the drunk Holofernes and returned to Bethulia that night.
The next day, the Jews suspended the head of Holofernes on a wall.

His men panicked and lifted the siege after suffering a terrible defeat. It was a courageous woman who helped restore the Jews' freedom.

The Jews of Tunisia hold a joyous celebration with cakes of all kinds, many sweetened with dates and honey. Under European influence it became customary for young men to spoil their fiancees with sweets and jewellery. Women find their rightful place.

Read article in full (French)

There is also a Tunisian Boys' Day: Seudat Yithro.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've always found the matriarchal bent within Judaism fascinating.