Among the many tactics of parenting one of my favorites is the spoonful of sugar approach. By creating an activity that is so much fun they don’t mind doing or learning something, kids are taught to reframe an unpleasant situation into something more palatable. Purim is a great time for this approach and even as my kids get older they still love the traditions we have incorporated in our home and are excited to discuss the plans and talk about the stories without my prompting.
Purim celebrates the success of Esther and Mordecai in keeping King Achashverosh from his plans to kill the Jewish people in his kingdom. Esther and Mordecai worked together to expose the evil Hamen who was trying to manipulate the king. The holiday is celebrated with the reading of the story, parties, dressing up, eating hamantaschen, using loud noisemake and — for adults –drinking.
Along with making some fun out of life, I also like saving time. The list at the end of my day has never once been shorter then when I woke up so if I can find a way to make something easier– I’m all in! Hamantaschen, triangle shaped cookies with a filled center, are perfect for this. They are easily adaptable, can use pre-made ingredients and accommodate a variety of tastes. Traditionally stuffed with poppy seeds, the treats are named for Hamen, the villain in the Purim story, but now can be filled anything from chocolate to jam to cheese.
For my version, I use a prepared pie crust already rolled out and let the kids cut smaller circles with a cookie cutter (or anything round), they can be tiny or giant. Once all the circles are cut, pinch opposite sides to create corners and once at the top to make a triangle with a space in the center. Let the kids choose their favorite filling, anything that you can make in a cookie, cake, or pie will work so spoon in some jelly, chocolate, lemon curd, tomato, cheese or Nutella. Bake according to the crust directions. Super easy for “cooking” with littles and no fighting over who gets what or what flavor we make, in my house that is a win!
Besides food, other fun ways to celebrate Purim are holding a dress-up parade and groggers. Kids can dress up as a version of their favorite Purim character and perform a part of their story for the family. Groggers, loud noise makers used during the telling of the Purim story, are always a hit (full disclosure not as much fun for those around them). During the story whenever Hamen’s name is mentioned kids use their groggers to make as much noise as possible. This is a popular task and one that keeps the kids paying close attention to the storytelling.
(As much noise as possible is a goal many kids can really get behind)
In every religion there are traditions, teachings, guidelines and rules. The activities I have chosen to include in this article are the ones I wanted to share, that are special to my family and reflective of our lives. They are by no means all of the options available nor do they represent a specific way you should do things. The idea is to provide a starting point, a place to get ideas and figure out what is right for your family.
We welcome comments with ideas, recipes and pictures of your Purim celebrations and other holidays regardless of religion.