It’s another Jewish holiday! I figured since everyone was so enthusiastic about the other holidays I shared, Tu B’Shevat and Shabbat (well, not so much a holiday, but whatever), and about my kosher kitchen that it was a good idea to let you all know a little bit about Purim!
When I was younger, Purim was my absolute favorite holiday.
Purim is a joyful holiday, which commemorates when the Jews living in Persia were saved from extinction. In synagogue, the Megillah is read, which is the scroll of Esther. Queen Esther and her cousin Mordecai are the heroes of the story, and Haman is the villain. Haman was an advisor to King Ahasuerus (Esther’s husband). King Ahasuerus allowed Haman to do as he pleased, but little did the King know that he planned to kill all of the Jews. Mordecai convinced Esther to speak to the king about Haman’s plot, and the king then orders Haman hung.
(This was just a REALLY brief synopsis.)
What’s so fun about this holiday is actually going to synagogue. People dress up like characters from the story and make tons of noise anytime Haman’s name is said in synagogue. They boo, stamp their feet or use groggers (noisemakers)
Basically, on Purim we are commanded to EAT, DRINK AND BE MERRY!
Many synagogues and other groups will have carnivals for the children, which are usually a lot of fun. The kids dress up, win prizes and have a blast. When I was younger we won 5 fish from a Purim carnival. I named them after the New Kids on the Block. They didn’t survive. At least NKOTB got a comeback.
Anyhoo…another major part of Purim is giving gifts of food or drink, and giving to charity. People and groups will get together and make shalach manos, which are gift baskets full of treats, usually sweet, to be shared.
In addition to the shalach manos, you are also supposed to drink…a lot. The idea is actually that you should drink until you can’t tell the difference between “cursed be Haman” and “blessed be Mordecai.” They want you to get wasted really (but not sick, and not hurting anyone. Don’t be an angry drunk!).
A major component of the shalach manos are called hamantaschen, which are fruit filled cookies shaped to represent Haman’s (booooooooooo) 3 cornered hat. I actually attempted to make hamantaschen, to share on the blog and for Solomon to bring to work, but it was a disaster! The dough didn’t roll out properly, so I just turned the dough into cookies. I was really disappointed. They aren’t difficult to make, I don’t know why I tried a new dough this time!
They are so yummy. I love them filled with apricot jam the most! I also make mine with chocolate chips.
So that’s just a quick summary. If you want to learn more, I encourage you to do a little googling, there is a ton of information out there! The next holiday coming up that I will share is Passover, which is my second least favorite holiday (Yom Kippur wins that honor). It’s a lot of work and a lot of stomachache. Can’t wait to tell you about it!
Any fun plans for the weekend, or are you snowed in? Does anyone celebrate, or have you ever celebrated Purim?