Purim: one of my favourite holidays.
It's like drag queen's holiday when all Jews go for it and feel not guilt for a change.
- Sandra Bernhard
Festival of 'Lots'
Purim is a joyous and playful one-day holiday when we commemorate the story told in the Book of Esther. In a nutshell, the story tells how Queen Esther and her cousin Mordechai saved the Jews of Persia from an anti-Semitic plot devised by Haman, the evil advisor to King Ahashverosh. This book, also called the megillah [scroll], is unique among other Jewish sacred texts in that it does not mention God. Purim is considered an 'upside down' holiday in that we approach our celebrations with levity and humour. Key traditions include a rowdy chanting of the megillah where we 'blot out' Haman’s name through noisemakers [groggers] and 'boo-ing'; a Purim Spiel or parody of the story; the gifting of mishloach manot, food, to family and friends; and matanat l’evyonim, giving gifts to the poor.