Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What is Purim?

D and I are learning about Purim this week.  This is one of my favorite Jewish holidays, and always has been.  In all likelihood, it started with the fact that I love good Hamantaschen (pronounced humentashin).  This is a cookie traditionally filled with apricot, prune, poppy seeds.  The bakery in the town I grew up in had an apple filled one, then added lemon and cherry.  These are my favorites.  They may not be classic tradition, but they sure are yummy.  D and I will be making some hamantaschen later this week.  I normally make the traditional apricot, and then get creative with the rest, as we are not big fans of poppyseed (sorry Mom) or prune.  In the past I have made cherry, apple, chocolate, and bananas foster.  We'll have to see what I can come up with this year!

Anyway, though all Jewish holidays do revolve around food that's not the whole of the holiday.  The other reason I loved this holiday as a child was that it is similar to the American holiday or Halloween, where you can dress up in costumes and make quite a ruckus.  (In fact for adults, you are supposed to get drunk to the point that you cannot distinguish the hero's name from the villain's.)

The story is a typical one for Jewish history.  Here is the abridged version:  Haman, the Persian King's advisor did not like the Jews and wanted them all to bow down to him.  When they wouldn't all follow his directions, he decided that they should all be killed.  The King was looking for a new wife (after banishing his first wife), and found and fell in love with Esther (during the ancient version of speed dating).  Esther was not only Jewish, but the niece of Haman's nemesis Mordecai.  Esther kept this a secret from the king, until she learned that all the Jews were to be killed.  She then had a party for the king (where was to drink quite a bit) where she told the king that she was Jewish.  At which point the King decided that the Jews would be saved, and Haman would be killed.

Today we celebrate Purim by reading the story of the holiday and making noise and using groggers (noisemakers) whenever we hear the name Haman.  Children (and many adults) dress up as characters from the story (and whoever else they would like to be).  And a good time is had by all.  

Chag Purim, Everyone!


  1. Hi! I'm visiting from MBC. Great blog.

  2. Found your blog from Tot-School super cute :) I even learned something new!! Thanks


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