This is the second specifically Tunisian tradition of the winter period, between the Tishri and Passover holidays, The first is The Feast of the Girls (Rosh H’ odesh El-Bnat], the second the boys’ party [Seu’dat Ytro] and finally, the Bsisa [or Bchicha] of Rosh H’odesh Nissan [Leilat Nishene]. There is something for everyone, the first is for girls, the second is for boys and the last is for everyone. However, for the Jew of Tunisian origin, Se’udat Ytro is above all and above all a very well furnished table and a very good meal with typical Tunisian dishes.
Here is a brief presentation of Se’udat Ytro in the form of answers to questions a small child might ask:
– What is this party called?
Se’udat Yitro or the boys’ party
– What is it ?
It’s a se’uda [meal in Hebrew] that we make at home.
– When do we do it?
Thursday evening of the week of the parsha of Yitro (between 15 and 24 Shvat)
– Who’s celebrating?
All the Jews of Tunisia, old and young, religious and non-religious. Each family makes a Se’uda in their home and often invites their relatives.
For several years, Associations in Israel have been organizing community Seudat Ytro celebrations in public places with Tunisian dishes, a musical accompaniment of songs and Piyutim and sometimes with a Torah lesson or a rabbi’s blessing.
– How do we celebrate?
It is a feast in which many condiments of all kinds are served in very small utensils and cutlery, like for a children’s dinette. They say the blessings of the Torah and sing songs and Piyutim.
– Since when does this tradition exist?
To date there is no precise information to answer this question. However, according to various testimonies, this custom has existed for tens or even hundreds of years, but at least since the beginning of the 20th century (see quote from travel researcher Nahum Slouchts from 1906). – What is happening these days?
Today, the tradition is celebrated in Israel and France by Jews from Tunisia. Over time, the custom has undergone slight modifications, however the essentials have remained unchanged.