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February 27, 2010

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?

13 Comments leave one →
  1. February 27, 2010 9:06 am

    I have the most hilarious memories of purim growing up. One year my sister and I dressed as a horse. She was the butt and I was the head. LOL!

    My dad and the other men of our temple put on a play every year about the story of purim and my dad was always queen vashti. Hysterical!

  2. greensandjeans permalink
    February 27, 2010 10:44 am

    I am not Jewish, but my best friend is and since he only lived a block away when we were growing up I’d always go over and celebrate the Jewish holidays with them!

  3. February 27, 2010 11:01 am

    I was just talking about Purim with my grandma last night. I was saying no hamantashen here so I thought I could maybe make my own and she offered to buy some freeze them and give them to me when I go home next month for passover. Haha, I’d only have one day to eat them all until Passover started. Since it is tough to do Passover on the island, I am going back to the States to spend it with my family which makes life way easier.

  4. February 27, 2010 11:06 am

    our bakery has some of those cookies this weekend-i’ll have to try them!

  5. February 27, 2010 2:24 pm

    cool. i like your holidays, theres always a lot of drinking and eating.

  6. February 27, 2010 5:51 pm

    I love this post! I minored in Judaic Studies in college because I found everything about the religion so fascinating. I learned about Purim then, and at the same time one of my dorm mates made hamamtaschen filled with chocolate and cinnamon. They were so delicious!

  7. February 27, 2010 8:07 pm

    Thank you for this post — sadly, I’ve never heard of Purim but I love learning about various celebrations and such. Enjoy!

    Bowling and drinks with work friends tonight and a hockey game tomorrow…other than that, nada mucho!

  8. February 27, 2010 11:54 pm

    Purim was my favorite holiday as a kid, too. It’s a kids’ holiday. Then again, what holiday isn’t?! They get all of the fun and none of the work!! :p

    ❤ ❤

  9. February 28, 2010 1:39 am

    my hubs is jewish and the lovely blue eyed heart graciously did a hamentaschen post sorta per my request and so after 11 yrs together, i may be able to make something other than raw balls (twss!) for my man. We are raising skylar to be a good person, not really jewish, but we take advantage of chanukah, xmas, the easter bunny, purim carnivals…basically we use any and all “religious” holidays to have a good time with her 🙂

  10. February 28, 2010 7:58 am

    In high school, I had this friend that would get a poppy seed hamantaschen from the grocery store deli (we could leave at lunch) like every day. One day, she took a big bite and was like, “That b*tch gave me prune!”

    I always think of that story when I think of hamantaschen.

  11. February 28, 2010 11:37 am

    i don’t really practice any religion, but my mom makes KICKASS hamentaschen! yum. any holiday with its own cookie is GOOD.

  12. February 28, 2010 11:38 am

    oh and i nominated you for a random l’il award on my blog 🙂

  13. March 1, 2010 3:22 pm

    My best friend is Jewish and I love to hear all about the holidays and the rituals.

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