Tonight begins the holiday of Purim. This is a fun filled day of celebration.
I very much want to share some of my recipes related to our celebration of the holiday.
But, for people who may be unfamiliar with Purim and interested in knowing some of the background, I thought I would take a few moments to explain the significance and some of the traditions connected to this wonderful and joyous holiday.
I humbly submit that my area of expertise is in preparing kosher food, not on the finer points of Judaism. So, I am going to use my own words to explain Purim and then try to include references at the end of this post for anyone who might be interested in learning more about this Jewish holiday.
Briefly, the story of Purim occurred in Persia over 2000 years ago. Haman, the king of Persia’s top advisor tried to kill all the Jews.
Through a complex series of events that were seemingly unrelated, the Jews were saved by the heroism of Mordechai and Esther. Queen Esther was able to reverse the evil decree, Haman was hanged on the gallows that he had created to kills the Jews and Mordechai became the Prime Minster of Persia in his stead.
The holiday is called Purim because that is the Persian word for “lottery.” Haman drew “lots” to determine the day, the 14th of Adar, that this heinous act would take place.
This holiday has 4 key rituals:
1. We hear the Megillah (Story or Scroll) of Esther 2 times, once at night and once the next day
2. Contribute to charity (Matanot LaEvyonim)
3. Give gifts of food (called Mishloach Manot ) to friends.
4. We eat a festive meal,
The day before the holiday (today) is a fast day, called the fast of Esther.
Children on this holiday dress up in costumes. This is an allusion to God’s hidden hand in the Purim miracle. Yaffa is planning on dressing up as a princess. This is the crown that she made:
Raizel’s costume is yet to be determined. She would like to be a grandma, but I wrapped a box and bought bows for her to be a present.🎁
There is also a custom of making loud noises to blot out the name of Haman whenever his name is read during the Megillah reading. This is called a grogger.
Here is a picture of one that Yaffa made:
The overarching theme of this holiday is that what appears to be “bad” is really for our ultimate good and that challenges are really opportunities for growth and transformation.
This is one of those holidays that is a wonderful creative outlet. Some people give very artistic and even elaborate Mishloach Manot (Food to Friends.)
Traditional foods include hamentashen cookies, which is a filled triangle shaped cookie. Kreplach, which is meat wrapped in dough are also eaten. The significance of kreplach is that our fate is hidden.
I usually do not make elaborate mishloach manot. Once I have my costumes and mishloach manot assembled, I will post them on the blog.
Thank you for reading.