In 2019, the holiday Purim is celebrated on the evening of March 20 and is considered the most fun Jewish holiday. We will tell about it in detail.
Why is it called Purim?
The name ‘Purim’ derives from the ancient Persian word ‘pur’, meaning ‘lot’. Villain Haman used a lot to determine the month for killing the Jews.
To choose the day of to fulfill the plan Haman threw a lot, which fell on the 13th day of Adar (a month).
How did the holiday appear?
According to the legend, in 355 BC, the tjaty at the court of Ahasuerus named Haman got the king to adopt a decree on extermination of all Jews in the Persian Empire.
For the election of the day to fulfill the plan, Haman threw lots, which fell on the 13th day of the month Adar.
However, he failed to realize his terrible intentions. The Jewish people were saved by the wife of Ahasuerus (Achashverosh) and the niece of the spiritual leader of the Jews, Mordecai, - Queen Esther.
Having learned about Haman’s plan, Esther gathered all the Jews of the city and together with them and her uncle they fasted and prayed for three days.
After that, risking her life, she went to her husband’s rooms without an invitation (this could have been punished by death) and invited Achashverosh with his adviser for a feast, during which she exposed the cunning Haman.
It was impossible to cancel the royal decree, so Achashverosh issued another one, allowing the Jews to defend themselves by any means.
And they won. Haman was hanged on the gallows, which he prepared for Mordecai.
How do people celebrate this holiday?
On the eve of Purim, the Jews hold the Fast of Esther in memory of the fasting announced by Mordecai and Esther after the decree of king Achashverosh.
This fasting is for analyzing your lives and repent for the wrongdoings.
Since it is impossible to combine two opposing moods in one day, Purim was divided into two parts, the 14th of Adar, the day of fun and feast, and the 13th, - the day of fasting and prayers.
There are four main commandments of Purim:
- Reading the Book of Esther.
- Feast and fun.
- Sending treats.
- Donations to the poor.
On these days, the Book of Esther is read in the synagogues. It is a part of the Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible) telling the story of the salvation of the Jews.
At the mention of Haman in the synagogues, people start whistling, stamping feet and rattle special rachets, expressing hatred towards the villain.
After the morning reading of commandment, it is common to send each other treats and give gifts to the poor. It is believed that every Jew should help at least two of those in need.
The main feast of Purim takes place in the afternoon, after the morning reading of the Book of Esther, and it should have a lot of food, wine and joy.
People make traditional cookies called hamantash (“Haman’s ears”). It is filled with jam, fruits or other sweets and given to children, friends, relatives and the poor.
Carnival processions are held on Purim. They are designed to remind that a divine plan could hide under the mask of random coincidences.