Purim is a festive Jewish occasion that has many times been compared to the United States Mardi Gras celebrations. Others have said that it is like Christmas because of the gifting and generosity surrounding the event. Purim is actually a celebration of freedom and redemption.
The story is a beautiful one. It starts with a common Jewish orphan becoming a queen and eventually allowing her people not only to live but to protect themselves against their enemies. They rose up and conquered their foes. It is all marked in the book of Esther.
The celebrations involve drinking and food. There is also a lot of fun and costumes. While costumes were once restricted to that of the characters in the Megillah, today may different types are worn.
Role playing in recognition of the historical events that led to the celebrations is a significant part of this custom. Purim is observed on the 15t of Adar (Jewish calendar). The festivities normally kick off on the 14th of Adar.
Adults and children will all come together to mark the occasion. The Megillah is read or reenacted telling the story of the Jewish people’s deliverance and redemption as told in the book of Esther. One of Purim’s symbols is a wooden noise maker called a gragger. The gragger is used to make noise much like the stomping at the mention of Haman’s name in the readings of the Megillah.
Purim is a time of year that sparks a lot of generosity from the Jewish community. The Jewish people believe that this is the time to give to others. A lot of food baskets and gifts are involved in the Purim tradition. It is a merry celebration in remembrance of their history and of their heritage.
There are a variety of events that take place during this time. Morning and afternoon prayers are conducted. Schools oftentimes hold special events. Many celebrations will include costumes and drinking. The fun and dancing seems endless! Purim is recognized in Israel as a public holiday.
This is a generous time for Jewish families. It is also joyful, and the occasion is laced with bittersweet memories of ages gone by. It is a beautiful celebration that embraces a very historic meaning; in many ways it is a symbolic journey for the Jewish culture and its people every year.
This journey began so many thousands of years ago with a Jewish orphan named Esther. She became a Persian Queen and set her people free. It is definitely a Holiday worth celebrating no matter where you are from or what your religious preferences may be.