Religion27 Feb 2010 02:12 am
In the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, on its thirteenth day … on the day that the enemies of the Jews were expected to prevail over them, it was turned about: the Jews prevailed over their adversaries. – Esther 9:1
And they gained relief on the fourteenth, making it a day of feasting and gladness. – Esther 9:17
[Mordecai instructed them] to observe them as days of feasting and gladness, and sending delicacies to one another, and gifts to the poor. – Esther 9:22
Purim is a holiday that commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people of the ancient Persian Empire from (super evil dictator) Haman’s plot to exterminate them. Purim is celebrated on the 14th day of Adar (usually in March), the day that, according to the Book of Esther, Haman had chosen to kill the Jews (after casting lots to help him decide), and the day that the Jews successfully defended themselves against his vicious attack.
In cities that were walled in the time of Joshua, Purim is celebrated on the 15th of the month, because the book of Esther says that in Shushan (a walled city), deliverance from the massacre was not complete until the next day. The 15th is referred to as Shushan Purim. In leap years, when there are two months of Adar, Purim is celebrated in the second month of Adar, so it is always one month before Passover.
Purim is celebrated by a public reading of the book of Esther. During the public recitation, it is customary to boo, hiss, stamp feet and rattle noisemakers whenever (super evil dictator) Haman’s name is mentioned during the service. There is also mutual gift giving and a celebratory meal, replete with costumes and lots of wine. In sum, Purim is a blast, and many Jews describe it as their favorite holiday.
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