Purim Date in the current year: March 1, 2018

Purim Purim also referred to as the Festival of Lots is a Jewish holiday commemorating the victory of the Jewish people over their enemies who wanted to destroy them in the Persian Empire. These events are recorded in the Megillat Ester (the Book of Esther).

According to the legend, Haman, royal vizier to Persian kind Ahasuerus, wanted to destroy all the Jews in the country. However, Mordecai and his cousin and adopted daughter Esther who was the wife of Ahasuerus foiled his plans. The day of deliverance of the Jewish people became a day of rejoicing and feasting. It was named Purim that is translated literally as “lots” (Haman cast lots to choose the date on which to murder Jews).

Purim is observed on the 14th day of the month of Adar. As there are two Adars in Hebrew leap years, in such years Purim is celebrated on the 14th day of Adar II. Purim customs include exchanging mishloach manot (gifts of food and drink), donating charity to the poor, wearing carnival costumes and masks, and eating a celebratory meal.

It is also customary to gather in synagogues for public recitation of the Scroll of Esther. Sometimes the story from the Book of Esther is also narrated in the form of a performance known as Purim spiel. Note than a Purim spiel is an addition to the reading of the Scroll and not its replacement.

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Purim, Jewish holidays, religious holidays, the Book of Esther