Origins of Purim
Purim is a festive celebration of the triumph of good over evil! It’s the story of the young and beautiful Queen Esther who had not shared her Jewish heritage with her husband, the King, before this story unfolded.
Esther was raised by her uncle Mordecai and she had been chosen to marry the King. When Mordecai refused to bow down to Haman, one of the King’s chief officials, Haman was furious. Discovering that Mordecai was a Jew, Haman sought to take revenge on him and all the Jews who lived in the kingdom. The word Purim comes from “Pur” (lot/fate) and so the Pur was cast and Haman planned to kill all the Jews.
Mordecai appealed to Esther to speak to the King on the people’s behalf. She and her people prayed and fasted for three full days as she considered the best way to approach the King. Even though she was his wife, she could not see him unless he called her into his presence. The penalty for stepping over that boundary was death.
Esther’s courage ultimately saved her people and so Purim is a time of great celebration. You can read more of the story in the book of Esther in the Old Testament.
During Purim, a special dessert, Hamantashen, or Haman’s Ears, is made (recipe links below) and baskets of food are shared with friends and neighbors. Since the Jewish people were always on the move, it was traditional to give foods that could be consumed fairly quickly. Today, gift baskets and other gifts are also given to charitable organizations.
Sometimes little plays are acted out as one person portrays the villain, Haman, and others portray Esther or her uncle Mordecai. Songs are sung and sometimes even disguises are worn. The disguises serve as a reminder that Queen Esther had not revealed her true identity to the King until she was called upon to save her people.
Purim is a joyful celebration of feasting and drinking and a reminder that even when “lots” have been cast, a hero may yet come along to change the outcome.http://jwa.org/blog/oznei-haman http://reuvera.hubpages.com/hub/Jewish-Holiday-Purim-and-why-it-is-special–also-the-recipe-of-Purim-cookies–hamentashes–Hamans-ears http://www.chabad.org/holidays/purim/article_cdo/aid/1365/jewish/Recipes.htm