Purim is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people from Haman, who was planning to kill all Jews. This event took place in the ancient Achaemenid Persian Empire and was recorded in the Book of Esther. It is celebrated annually per the Hebrew calendar on the 14th day of the Hebrew month Adar. Purim 2019 will begin in the evening of Wednesday, 20th March and will conclude in the evening of Thursday, 21st March.

As recorded in the Book of Esther, after the destruction of Judah, the Jews were held in captivity by the Babylonian Empire. When the Persians conquered Babylonia, Haman, adviser to Persian King Ahasuerus, plotted to “destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews­—young and old, infants and women and children—on a single day” (Esther 3:13 NIV), but was ultimately defeated by Mordecai and Ahasuerus’ newly crowned queen, Esther. Purim, which directly translates to “lots”, refers to Haman selecting the massacre date of the Jews by throwing and drawing lots.

Esther 7 (NLT) – The King Executes Haman / Photo Credit: http://www.freebibleimages.org

This Jewish holiday is observed and celebrated with the reading of the Megillah (Book of Esther) in the synagogue; donating monetary gifts to the poor; exchanging reciprocal gifts of food and drink; and se’udat Purim, a festive celebratory meal with wine and alcoholic beverages. Other celebrations include street parades and carnivals, people dress up in costumes and wear masks symbolizing Esther’s concealed identity.

Celebrating Purim in Israel

Furthermore, at Purim, Jewish treat themselves with hamantaschen, which are triangle-shaped pocket pastries commonly filled with fruit jam, cheese or poppy seeds, and claimed to be named after Haman, as he wore a hat with three corners.

Photo credit: http://archive.lakanto.com/kosher-lakanto-in-hamantaschen-cookie/

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