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What is Hamantashen?


Easy-to-Make Hamentaschen

Easy-to-Make Hamentaschen

Giora Shimoni
Definition: Hamantashen is a triangular, filled pastry which is traditionally served on the Jewish festival of Purim.

According to Jewish tradition, Haman, the evil character in the Purim story, wore a three-cornered hat. Somewhere along the way in Jewish history, the idea of Haman and his three-cornered hat was cleverly combined with a popular pastry called "Mantashen" to form "Hamantashen." In Yiddish, "Mantashen" means poppy seed pockets and "Hamantashen" means "Haman's pockets."

While originally hamantashen pastries were filled with a poppy seed filling, over time the fillings became more varied. Today there are hamantashen filled with fruit preserves, chocolate and even peanut butter.

In Hebrew, the pastry is called "Oznai Haman" which means Haman's ears. This name may have come from the Midrash which says that when Haman entered the King's treasury, he was bent over with shame and humiliation (literally with clipped ears).
Pronunciation: ho-men-tash-en
Also Known As: Oznai Haman in Hebrew
Alternate Spellings: Hamentaschen
Common Misspellings: Hamantashan
I am putting chocolate-filled Hamantashen instead of the more traditional poppy-filled Hamantashen in my Purim food baskets this year.

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