Purim (Lots) 14th–15th of Adar
The story of Purim is told in the book of Esther. Haman (booo!), the conniving prime minister, schemes a plot to destroy the Jewish people living in the Persian Empire. Through the courage of the Jewish Queen, Esther (Yayyy!), but mostly the cleverness of her cousin, Mordechai (Yayyy!), the plot never comes to fruition and the Jewish people are spared destruction.
It is interesting that G-d is not mentioned in this book, but His hand can be seen in the many miraculous twists throughout the story. It just illustrates how G-d often works behind the scenes.
A two-day holiday commemorates this event with the reading of the book of Esther during service and cheering whenever Esther or Mordechai’s names are mentioned, and booing any time Haman’s name is mentioned. Noisemakers are also used during the reading. Congregants are encouraged to dress in costume as Mordechai, Esther, or if you just have to be that person, Haman. There are games for the kids to play and prizes as well.
Special foods are shared, especially hamantaschen, a triangular-shaped pastry representing Haman’s hat.
A festive meal, packages of food and other small treats offered to friends and family (mishloach manot), and gifts to the poor (matanot la’evyonim) as cited in Esther 9:22 remain key components of traditional celebrations.
Scriptural references: Esther 9:20-22