Tonight at sundown through Thursday evening Jews around the world of every denomination: Reconstructionist, Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox will be marking the holiday of Purim. Also known as the Festival of Lots, the holiday starts tonight because like all Jewish holidays it is based on the lunar Hebrew calendar. With all the traditional food, handmade costumes for children, fun and synagogue activities this is among my favorite of all the holidays we celebrate.
|Me with my triplets wearing the Purim Costumes I made for them as toddlers|
During daylight hours today many Jewish men and women are observing the Fast of Esther which precedes the joyous festivitiesand feasting that will start after the fast ends at sunset. This day of refraining from eating and drinking originates with Queen Esther and her cousin Mordechai who successfully fasted and prayed to G-d to save the people from Haman's evil degree to kill the Jews.
|Chocolate Chip Hamantashen cookies that I baked with my kids|
An interesting bit of trivia: Hamantashen cookies are triangular and are meant to mimic the shape of the wicked Haman's hat. This is also where the expression "If you do such and such...I'll eat my hat" may have originated.
Some of the home baked goodies we make will be added to Shalach Manot gift baskets of food and drink that our family will deliver to friends on Thursday, Purim Day. In fact, every Bar Mitzvah male over the age of and every Bat Mitzvah female over 12 is obligated by Jewish law to deliver a gift of ready-to-eat edibles to at least one person.
|My girls model the flower costumes I made for them|
|Here's my youngest in the Butterfly costume I sewed for him|
Tomorrow after we go to our shul (Jewish house of worship) to hear the Megillah a second time, we'll deliver the gift baskets during the day time. Toward the end of the day we'll gather for a festive meal to enjoy food and drink together as we recall how the Jews were miraculously saved from annihilation.
Charity is also central to Purim. So as we enjoy everything that those of us are fortunate to have, each adult contributes enough money to make certain that a poor person will also have his/her own proper meal to celebrate the day.
|Our big boy is all smiles in the Bumble Bee Costume Mommy created just for him|
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