Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Hold onto your hat...this post is LOADED with fun!

Everyone loves a party! Who doesn't like costumes, candy, games, music and dancing? For over 2,500 years Jewish people have been throwing a party like this at the end of Winter to celebrate the salvation of their people from the wicked Haman.  Purim, which means the casting of lots, is a Jewish holiday which usually falls in early March, and is a beloved favorite of Jewish children throughout the world. (See here for a list of ten ways to celebrate Purim with your family!) 

The celebration of Purim began in ancient Persia when Esther, an unknown Jewish orphan rose to be queen and courageously interceded for the life of her people before the Persian king.  The book of Esther in the Bible tells this dramatic, plot-twisting tale of how the Prime Minister and advisor to the king, Haman, attempts to annialate the Jewish people. But through divine providence, Esther wins the heart of the king and foils his wicked plan.

The holiday of Purim is celebrated in an all-out fashion with carnivals, costume parties, delicious food, Megillah (scripture) reading and gift-giving.  Children (and some adults) dress up in their favorite costumes and go to synagogue to hear the reading of the Megillah (scroll of the story of Purim).  The reading of the Megillah is a loud, fun, joyous event.  When the evil Haman's name is read, noisemakers are sounded to drown out his name, while a resounding "hooray!" is heard every time Esther and Mordecai's names are read.  

When I was growing up, Purim was one of my favorite times of the year.  I thought it was wonderful to dress up like a real queen!  Every little girl wanted to be Queen Esther, and there were many Uncle Mordecais and King Xerxes, and even defiant Vashtis walking around the synagogue. 

Today, it is still my favorite!  After all, what better excuse to dress up in costume and celebrate with parties and carnivals than praising G-d for his divine hand of protection over his people!

I have compiled activities, crafts and recipes that I will be posting over the next week for your own Purim celebration...let the fun begin!!

First up, here is a link to my Hamantaschen recipe.  Hamantaschen is a triangular-shaped pastry (like Haman's three-cornered hat) served at Purim.  Beware: they are addictive!  

It is customary to give baskets of fruit, Hamantaschen, nuts and other goodies to friends at Purim. (I will be posting a cute, kids paper basket craft later this week, so check back in!) These baskets are referred to as Mishloach Manot, which literally means the "sending of portions", and it is considered a blessing and mitzvah to also share with those in need, so now is a great time to put together packages of goodies for someone G-d lays on your heart.

  Here is a fun Grogger (noisemaker) Craft  that children can use to drown out Haman's name when the story of Esther is read.

 Here is a list of ten ways to celebrate Purim with your family!

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  1. I'm not Jewish, but some of my ex-husband's family are...and thus we do celebrate with them sometimes. What a fun way to celebrate! (I'm especially fond of Challah! Yum!)

  2. Hi, Jessy. Just like in the book of Esther, there are many who celebrated with the Jewish people who weren't Jewish :) So glad you stopped by...I plan on posting a really easy Challah recipe soon, so check back in! Blessings :)