In 2020, the holiday Purim is celebrated on March 9 10 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 to fulfill the plan Haman threw a lot, which fell on the 13th day of Adar (a month).
During the time of King Ahasuerus, one of his ministers, Haman, sought to destroy the Jews in revenge for being snubbed by the Jew Mordecai, who refused to bow down to him. With the king’s authority, he draws lots (pur) to determine the fateful day, which falls on the 13th of the month of Adar.
Learning of this decree, Mordecai approaches the new queen, his cousin Esther, to intercede with the king. Esther, who has not revealed her Judaism publicly, fasts for three days in preparation for this task. At a banquet for the king and Haman, she denounces the evil Haman, who is eventually hanged. Because a royal decree cannot be rescinded — including the decree ordering the extermination of the Jews — Mordecai must send another decree to all the provinces. This letter authorizes the Jews to protect themselves from their enemies. The days following the Jews’ struggle with their enemies (the 14th and 15th of Adar) are declared days of feasting and merrymaking, today celebrated as Purim.
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.