One of the most joyous days on the Jewish calendar, Purim celebrates our deliverance from the wicked Haman in ancient Persia (4th century BCE.) Haman was the conniving consigliere of King Ahashverosh, ruler of the vast Persian Empire. He convinced the king to “destroy, kill and annihilate the Jews, young and old, infants and women, in a single day.”
👑 Haman’s evil decree was foiled when Jewish Queen Esther, upon the urging of her cousin Mordechai, interceded with the king (risking execution) and got the decree reversed. Esther’s bravery saved her people, and Haman was hoisted on his own petard!
The exciting story is told in the Biblical Book of Esther, also known as the Megilla, which depicts God’s miracles without ever mentioning His name. Indeed, the Purim story reflects our everyday world, where God is hidden but orchestrates everything.
HOW DO WE OBSERVE PURIM?
– 📜 Attend public Megilla readings twice, once on the eve of Purim and again the next day.
– 💸 Give money to at least two people in need of food
– 🍲 Send gifts of at least two kinds of food to at least one person
– 🥩 Enjoy a festive meal
WHAT ARE HOLIDAY CUSTOMS?
– 🎉 Merriment
– 😲 Loud booing when Haman’s name is mentioned in Megilla reading
– 🎭 Dressing in costume
– 🥸 Funny Purim shpiels (skits)
– 😋 Eating hamentaschen, three cornered cookies that resemble Haman’s hat (one of the enduring mysteries of Jewish history is why Haman wore a three cornered hat)
– 🍹Purim festivities always include alcohol
🤤 FASTING TO PREPARE
The day before Purim is a fast day, commemorating Esther’s fasting and prayer for God to save His people. It is preferable to refrain from eating until after hearing the Megilla reading
👋 HOW DO WE GREET EACH OTHER ON PURIM?
– Happy Purim!
– Chag Purim Sameach (Hebrew)
– Ah Freilechen Purim (Yiddish)
👻 IS PURIM THE JEWISH HALLOWEEN?
No. Both holidays involve costumes and sweets, but Halloween is celebrated by demanding candy from strangers while Purim is celebrated by bringing candy to friends. 🍭
🤔 FUN FACT
Some believe that after the Messiah comes (may it be soon!), Purim will be the only holiday we’’ll still celebrate.
🎈MAY YOU HAVE A YUMMY, SILLY, JOY-FILLED AND MEANINGFUL PURIM! 🎊
Image: Purim in Koenigsberg, Germany 1935