What is Purim? Everything to know about the Jewish holiday, from costumes to hamantaschen


If you see kids running around in costumes next week, that’s because it’s Purim, a Jewish holiday.

Purim commemorates the story recounted in the biblical Book of Esther. A man named Haman hatched a plan to annihilate all the Jews in ancient Persia; he manipulated King Achashverosh to help carry it out. Little did he know that the king’s wife Esther was actually Jewish. She and her uncle Mordecai work together to stop Haman from succeeding.

“It’s the story of human ingenuity and human courage and human bravery,” says Rabbi Elaine Glickman, assistant executive director of Women’s Rabbinic Network.

But what are all the traditions around it? What’s the deal with the costumes? What are the typical foods eaten to celebrate? Here are all the details:

Purim is a Jewish holiday that celebrates Jews triumphing over an evil attempt to exterminate them.

When is Purim?

This year it begins at sundown on Monday, March 6, and ends at sundown Tuesday, March 7. Dates vary each year but it’s usually around this time.

Is Purim a religious holiday?

Purim is different from some other Jewish holidays in that the laws of the Sabbath are not observed during the holiday. (Meaning even observant Jews will use their phones, drive cars, etc. during this holiday.)


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