Hamantaschen: The Symbolism behind Purim Cookies

Purim is a celebration of masquerade, Mishloach Manot, Hamantaschen and book of Esther reading. Every Jewish holiday focuses on a special dish and the triangular Hamantaschen are the symbolic food of Purim. Why triangular and why named after the wicked Haman that plotted to execute all Jewish people in Persia? Join us as we explore the special cookies from one corner to the other and reveal the story behind the tradition of eating Hamantaschen on Purim, revealing four hypotheses to origin of shape and name of the pastries:

The unique cookies shape is achieved by folding in the sides of a circular piece of dough, with a filling placed in the center. Traditional Hamantashen are made with Poppy seeds filling, which is not accidental:

1 The seeds are believed to represent all the bribe money Haman collected. The word tasche means "pouch" or "pocket" in German, therefore referring to Haman's pockets, symbolizing the money that Haman offered to Ahasuerus in exchange for permission to destroy the Jews.

2 “Haman’s ears,” in ancient times it was tradition to cut off of the wicked man’s ears before he was hanged, thus the origin of the cookies’ name.

3 The unusual and intentional triangular shape of the hamantaschen pastries is that Haman wore a three-cornered hat.

4 The three corners represent Queen Esther's strength. She was resilient and fearless in using her wit to save her people from genocide.  This may also stand for the founders of Judaism: Abraham, Isaac and especially Jacob—whose “power” weakened Haman and gave strength to Esther to save the Jews (incidentally, tash in Hebrew means “weaken”).

Just like other symbols in Judaism, the hamantaschen are filled with symbolism and reminders to Jewish history in every corner and seed! We may never really know how these cookies achieved their status and significance in Purim celebrations, but we can definitely learn how to make the greatest Hamantaschen cookies! Here are two amazing recipes to the famous hamantaschen pastries, a special version of the classic poppy seeds cookies:

Biscuit and Cheddar Hamantaschen

For those of you that love incorporating new and exciting with old and familiar, these cheese flaky cookies will be a great surprise for your family this Purim.

Chocolate covered strawberry Hamantaschen

An amazing recipe that will cause tooth aches and your family members begging for more, on repeat and not just on Purim.

For more exciting Purim recipes, click here.
Discover more great facts on Purim and other Jewish holidays in our Jewish blog!