Purim Guide

Purim Holiday Traditions, History & Celebrations

1. What are hamantaschen?

Hamantaschen are three-cornered cookies, which have many different variations. These cookies range in sizes and flavors; notable fillings include fruit, cheese, chocolate, poppy seeds and even nutella.

Poppy seed hamantaschen being prepared by being sprinkled with powdered sugar.
The preparation of poppy seed hamantaschen.

2. Why do we eat hamantaschen on Purim?

These delicious cookies have a larger significance than impressing your family with your baking skills. The three-cornered shape of hamantaschen is related to the villain of the Purim story: Haman. One reason for the shape is that Haman supposedly wore a three-cornered hat—so his downfall is celebrated by eating his hat. Another name for the cookie is oznei Haman—meaning “Haman’s ears”; there is a myth that Haman’s ears were cut off before he was hanged, therefore, some view the cookie as a celebration of Haman’s consequences. 

Another idea suggests that each corner of the cookie represents a “father” of Judaism—Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; it is told that they weakened Haman—“tash” means weaken in Hebrew—and gave Esther the strength to save the Jews. No matter which idea you resonate with most, the celebration of Hamas’s downfall and the survival of Judaism is apparent in all.

3. Recipes for Hamantaschen

Here are recipes for hamantaschen that will take your Purim celebration to the next level:

Buttery hamantaschen recipe

Poppy seed or fruit hamantaschen recipe

Apricot hamantaschen recipe

Chocolate-filled hamantaschen recipe

Give Mishloach Manot