The holiday of Purim begins this Wednesday night and ends Thursday night—though lots of temples and community centers will be celebrating this weekend with carnivals and revelry.
So, what is Purim? Well, Purim is a very joyous and fun holiday though it celebrates a very serious thing. It commemorates a time when Jewish people living in Persia were saved from extinction. Under the rule of King Ahashverosh, Haman, the king’s prime minister, decided to get rid of everyone who was Jewish. (He was NOT a nice man.) His plan was foiled by Queen Esther and her cousin Mordechai, who ultimately save the Jews of Persia from destruction.
Purim is celebrated with a public reading of the Book of Esther. During the reading of the Megillah it is customary for the kids to yell, hiss and make noise with a grager (noise maker) at the mention of the evil Haman’s name.
Purim is not a major holiday (like Passover or Rosh Hashanah) but it represents a very important time for Jewish people – their survival. And also celebrates a very important female: Queen Esther. Since we use Purim as a reason to celebrate we like to dress up like Esther at our festivities.
There are lots of Purim crafts online including making your own noisemakers and masks. Go forth & Google.