From: Hannah Katsman, Green Prophet
Published February 28, 2011 07:33 AM

Celebrate the Jewish Holiday of Purim the Old-Fashioned Way

Jews celebrate the holiday of Purim on the 14th day of Adar II, which falls this year on the evening of Saturday, March 19 until sunset on March 20. In Jerusalem and other ancient walled cities, the one-day celebration begins Sunday evening and is known as Shushan Purim (see Esther 9:18-19). Purim commemorates the events of the biblical book of Esther, which describes how the beautiful and noble Queen Esther and her uncle Mordechai foil the evil Haman's plan to destroy the Jewish people of the 127 nations in the ancient Persian Empire.

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Like most Jewish holidays, Purim involves spending time in the synagogue, in this case reading the Scroll of Esther in the morning and the evening. And it also involves food—a festive meal during the day, as well as sending gifts of food to friends.

These packages, known as mishlochei manot, traditionally contain two different kinds of food. Finally, Jews are obligated to give charity to the needy and you will see beggars greeting worshippers as they leave the synagogue in the morning—observant Jews figure it's best to give to a few poor people just to make sure the money gets where it's supposed to. How can your Purim be green?

The best-known Purim tradition, dressing in costume, doesn't have roots in the Bible. But Purim is all about hidden identities, particularly Esther who kept her Jewish background a secret from her husband, the king Ahashverosh. There's also a hint of hidden-ness in the traditional holiday food, hamantashen, the triangular-shaped cookies with filling peeking out.

Article continues: http://www.greenprophet.com/2011/02/celebrate-the-jewish-holiday-of-purim-the-old-fashioned-way/

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