We just concluded the joyful feast of Purim over here in Israel! Purim is probably one of the most fun celebrations on the Hebrew Calendar! It is the feast of Esther, commemorating how the Jewish people were saved from annihilation while living in Persia, and it is celebrated as one giant costume party!
A few things set Purim apart from the typical "They tried to kill us. We survived. Let's eat." celebrations. This is primarily because Purim is not an Appointed Time of the Lord from Levitcus 23; although, there is biblical support for celebrating this feast. In Esther 9:20-32, the Jewish people, and all allied with them, are to celebrate this feast annually....
As part of the traditional celebration, we all dress up in costumes, which has something to do with Esther concealing her Jewish identity. We eat a triangular shaped cookie called hamantaschen (haman's ears), and read the Megillah, or Book of Esther. While reading Esther, everytime the reader says "Haman" the audience says "Boooooo!" Everytime the reader says "Mordicai," the audience says, "Yea!!!" and cheers!...because on those days the Jews rid themselves of their enemies, and it was a month which was turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and rejoicing and sending portions of food to one another and gifts to the poor. (v. 22 NASB)
And because of the instructions in this letter, both what they had seen in this regard and what had happened to them, the Jews established and made a custom for themselves and for their descendants and for all those who allied themselves with them, so that they would not fail to celebrate these two days according to their regulation and according to their appointed time annually. So these days were to be remembered and celebrated throughout every generation, every family, every province and every city; and these days of Purim were not to fail from among the Jews, or their memory fade from their descendants. (vs. 26-28 NASB)
This year, we attended two parties. The first one was with a group of friends who all have kids around Aviel's age. The second was with our Kehilah (congregation).
Here are a few photos of this year's celebrations....
We dressed as lions, because Aviel is going through a growling phase.
He didn't want his face painted until he saw mine.
Bethany came as a leopard. She looked pretty sassy! We didn't plan our complementary jungle cat ensembles. Great minds... Great minds....
The kids made a little craft as part of the tradition. We cut circles, decorated them, then folded them in the shape of Hamantaschen, to be filled with treats and given to friends. This was to teach the the tradition of mishloach manot, or the sending of packages. At the end of the party, each child gave the one he or she made to a friend.
After craft time, Angela, Bethany and I put on an very impromptu puppet show of the story of Esther. The kids absolutely loved it.
A few days later, we attended a Purim celebration with our Kehilah. After our normal time of worship, we had a time of intercession for Israel, since that's what the story of Esther is about! After that, we had a reading of the Megillah, then a celebration with yummy food!
Devin dressed as a Court Jester.... and Aviel and I put on our Lion gear again!
Abba and Aviel making funny faces.
Lion with a sword.
Phone camera self portrait.
Thank you for celebrating Purim with us this year!