Purim The Most Fun Jewish Holiday

Purim 2022 begins at sundown on Wednesday 16 Mar 2022 and ends at nightfall on Thursday, 17 Mar 2022, that is, on the Hebrew date of Adar 14. Purim, also called the Festival of Lots, is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the saving of the Jewish people from the cruel Haman in the ancient Persian Empire; a story recorded in the Biblical Book of Esther. Purim celebrates the strength and resilience of the Jews.

Purim

In the 4th century BCE, the Jewish people lived under the rule of the Persian King Ahasuerus who had his wife, Queen Vashti, executed for refusing to follow his orders. The king decided to arrange a beauty pageant to find a new wife. Esther, a Jewish girl, caught his attention and became his new queen.

Esther crowned as queen. Photo Credit: Sweet Publishing / FreeBibleimages.org

Meanwhile, the Jew-hating Haman was appointed prime minister of the empire. Fuelled by his hatred for Mordecai, the leader of the Jews and cousin of the new queen, Haman convinced the king that the Jews were rebellious and should be exterminated. With the king’s consent, Haman threw lots to determine the date for the execution.

Haman speaking with the king about the Jews. Photo Credit: Sweet Publishing / FreeBibleimages.org

Queen Esther asked the king and Haman to join her for a large feast. During the meal, Esther revealed that she was a Jew and pleaded for the Jews. She accused Haman of plotting the annihilation of her people. The outraged king ordered that Haman be hanged and that Mordecai be appointed the new prime minister. His first decree granted all Jews the right throughout the empire to defend themselves against their enemies. On Adar 13, the Jews mobilised and killed many of their enemies. After an exhilarating victory, the Jews rested and celebrated on Adar 14.

King and Haman went to the banquet Esther had prepared. Photo Credit: Sweet Publishing / FreeBibleimages.org

Haman was led out to be executed. Photo Credit: Sweet Publishing / FreeBibleimages.org

 Jews gathered to defend themselves. Photo Credit: Sweet Publishing / FreeBibleimages.org

Mordecai recorded these events and sent letters to the Jews asking them celebrate this victory every year. So the celebration was called the Feast of Purim. Photo Credit: Sweet Publishing / FreeBibleimages.org

Purim begins with a day of fasting and reading the Book of Esther in the synagogue on the eve of Purim. On Purim (meaning “Lots” in Hebrew), the Jews exchange gifts and make donations to the poor. They eat a celebratory feast as well as triangle-shaped foods such as kreplach and hamantaschen pastries (“Haman’s ears”). When Jews meet each other, they say “chag Purim sameach” or “Happy Purim”. The day is filled with lots of fun, customs and traditions such as dressing up, carnivals and drinking.

Hamantaschen pastries

 

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