Purim Festival – the Festival of Masks

Purim Festival – the Festival of Masks

Purim, the happiest festival in the Jewish calendar, held on the 14th day of the Hebrew month Adar, which is in late winter/early spring. Purim commemorates the day Esther, Queen of Persia, saved the Jewish people from execution by Haman, a treacherous man who tried to destroy the Jewish people of ancient Persia.

Purim is one of the three festivals (along with Passover and Hanukkah) that celebrate God’s deliverance of His people corporately from a foreign enemy. Both adults and children eat a fruit-filled triangular cookie called hamantash. It is meant to symbolize the defeated enemy of the Jewish people and resembles the three-cornered hat of Haman, the villain of Purim.

In 2024 Purim will begin at sunset on Saturday, March 23 and ends in the evening of Sunday, March 24.

The Story of Queen Esther

The Persian Empire in 4th century BCE extended over 127 lands, and all the Jews were its subjects. When King Ahasuerus had his wife, Queen Vashti, executed for failing to follow his orders, he arranged a beauty pageant to find a new queen. During the pageant a Jewish girl, Esther, found favor in the King’s eyes and became the new queen. She did refuse to divulge her nationality to King Ahasuerus.

Meanwhile, the anti-Semitic, Haman was appointed the Prime Minister of the Persian Empire. Mordechai, the leader of the Jews and Esther’s cousin, defied the King’s orders by refusing to bow to Haman. Haman was enraged and convinced the King to issue a decree, which ordered the extermination of all the Jews on the 13th of Adar, a date chosen by a lottery Haman made.

Mordechai galvanized all the Jews, convincing them to repent, fast, and pray to G-d. Esther at the same time asked King Ahasuerus and Haman to join her for a feast. At the feast, Esther revealed to the King her Jewish identity. Haman in the end was hanged and Mordechai was appointed Prime Minister instead. Afterwards a new decree was issued, granting Jews the right to defend themselves against their enemies.

On the 13th of Adar, the Jews mobilized and killed many of their enemies. On the 14th of Adar, they rested from all the fighting and celebrated in the capital city of Shushan.

Purim Observances

Purim is considered the “most fun” of the Jewish holidays, and for people of other faiths is often likened to being a little bit of Mardi Gras and Halloween rolled into one. The festival is celebrated with costume parties and many festivities. The holiday takes on a carnival-like atmosphere with many dressing in costumes.

Synagogues and communities hold plays and festivals specifically for the day. Traditionally, a noisemaker or gragger is sounded when Haman’s name is said aloud during the megillah reading; today some people have instituted a new practice of waving a celebratory flag when Esther’s name is recited.

The simple expression for Purim is everyone young and old dressing in costume, adults drinking until they can no longer differentiate between good and evil and friends and family exchanging beautiful mishloach manot – which are baskets filled with food, drink and lots of sweet treats. As with most Jewish holidays, food plays an important role in celebrating Purim. If you follow Jewish law, then each mishloach manot must contain at least two different kinds of food that is ready to eat.

On Purim, Jews are supposed to enjoy a festive meal, which often includes special Purim cookies called hamantaschen – “Haman’s pockets” – triangle-shaped cookie pastries with fruit or savory filling.

There is a spirit of liveliness and fun on Purim that is unparalleled on the Jewish calendar. Therefore it is very important to share our happiness, to help the people in need, to be able to make everyone share the charm and joy of Purim.

Happy Purim Quote and Wishes

Purim Wishes

  • Let us celebrate this Purim by listening to Esther’s story and praising her bravery. Happy Purim to all

  • Celebrate the rescue of the Jews on this festival of Purim. Happy Purim to all.

  • Happy Purim to all! Let us celebrate the delivery of the Jews from annihilation on this beautiful day.

Purim Wishes

  • To everyone celebrating Purim, let us promote Esther’s bravery and let the world know her sacrifice. Have a blessed one.

  • Wishing blessings on all the Jews on this joyous day—let’s celebrate Purim!

  • The arrival of Purim symbolizes a day of positive change in our lives.

Purim Wishes

  • May this Purim bring joy and happiness in your life and in your family. Happy Purim

  • May throughout the year we wear the mask- to get us saved from all harms. Happy Purim, all.

  • Let us uncover our mask and reveal the goodness in ourselves on this day by helping the poor. Happy Purim to all.

Purim Wishes

  • May fun, merriment and laughter keep you on high spirit…
    And make your Purim celebrations unforgettable!

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Simmi Kamboj

Simmi Kamboj is the Founder and Administrator of Ritiriwaz, your one-stop guide to Indian Culture and Tradition. She had a passion for writing about India's lifestyle, culture, tradition, travel, and is trying to cover all Indian Cultural aspects of Daily Life.