Q: What is the Yiddish meaning of the word “Hamentashen?”

A: The literal meaning of the three-cornered traditional Purim cookies called Hamantashen is “Haman’s pockets.” This is different than the Hebrew name for the same cookie, “Oznai Haman,” which means “Haman’s ears.”

Various opinions exist as to how the cookie became associated with Purim, which takes place this year on March 16. Some say the cookie represents the hat worn by Haman, the villain in the Purim story. Others say that the shape of the cookie, with its hidden filling, hints to the story of Purim, which is considered to be a “hidden miracle.” Another possibility is that the cookie was traditionally filled with poppy seed, or “mohn,” and was originally called “mohn tashen,” or poppy seed pockets, until someone realized that it would be fun to call it "Hamantashen" instead and tie it to Purim.