Happy Purim – חג פורים שמח – March 23-24, 2024


Purim celebrates Jewish survival.

Purim, or the Feast of Lots, is a Biblical Jewish festival known for extravagant costumes, the exchanging of gift baskets, performances, and a feast. This joyous celebration commemorates how ancient Jews were spared from massacre during the Persian Empire.

When the Persians took control of Babylonia in around 475 BC, Haman, a royal vizier to King Ahasuerus, had plotted to wipe all the Jews, but his plans were foiled by Queen Esther and Mordechai.

Purim is celebrated according to the Hebrew calendar on the 14th day of the Hebrew month of Adar. This commemorates the day following the victory of the Jews over the Persians in the battle which was on the 13th day of Adar. It usually falls in late February or March in the Western calendar. In some parts of Israel, Purim is celebrated on the 15th of the month.

Purim is characterized by public readings of the Book of Esther, giving mutual gifts of food and drink, giving charity to the poor, and a festive meal. Other customs include drinking wine and the wearing of masks and costumes.

A popular treat during Purim is Hamantash, a filled-pocket pastry with a distinctive three-cornered shape. The shape is achieved by folding in the sides of a circular piece of dough, with a filling placed in the center. Popular fillings are fruit jam, cheese or poppy seeds. They are said to be named after Haman as he wore a three-cornered hat.

Purim greetings are simple: “Happy Purim” will suffice. Want to wish someone a happy Purim in Hebrew? Tell them, “Chag Purim sameach.” In Yiddish, you can say “ah freilichen Purim.”

Read the entire Story of Purim


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