Purim, 14th day of Adar




Purim
will occur on the following days:
  • Jewish Year 5774: sunset March 15, 2014 - nightfall March 16, 2014
  • Jewish Year 5775: sunset February 4, 2015 - nightfall March 5, 2015
  • Jewish Year 5776: sunset March 23, 2016 - nightfall March 24, 2016
  • Jewish Year 5777: sunset March 11, 2017 - nightfall March 12, 2017
  • Jewish Year 5778: sunset February 28, 2017 - nightfall March 1, 2018


Purim is a Jewish holiday, it is also called the Festival of Lots. It is celebrated on the 14th of the month Adar in the Jewish calendar. Because this is a moon calendar, Jewish holidays such as Purim always fall on different dates of the Gregorian calendar. The Jewish natural day and therefore every festival - and anniversary extends of sunset to sunset, thus the day successively has an evening, night, tomorrow, afternoon and afternoon.

The festival of Purim is a spring festival. The festival commemorates the rescue of the people. The story of Esther (her Hebrew name was Hadassa), written on a separate parchments scroll, is read in the synagogue.

Esther had been chosen by Achashverosh as his queen because of her beauty. She and her uncle Mordechai were in the position to prevent the devised ruin of its people by the sly vizier Haman. When Haman accused the Jewish people before king Achashverosh, he argued: "There is one nation scattered and dispersed among the nations throughout the provinces of your kingdom, whose laws are unlike those of any other nation and who do not obey the laws of the King". What Haman did not realise was that excactly this "charge" contained the key for deliverance and the final victory on its criminal plan. Indeed, the Jewish people are "one people".

Mordechai, the Jew, the Jewish leader of its time, succeeded in uniting its people to defeat Haman. The Megilla (the scroll) tells us that he bent neither kneeled. He refused to take something off to the eternal values of the Tora, even if he risked his own life. He also won the respect of king Achashverosh and was appointed as his viceroy who brought new prosperity to all countries of the Persian empire.

The not particularly historical reliable book wants to explain the origin of the Jewish Purim festival. Achashverosh was probably Xerxes I (486-465 BCE), but it is unknown whether he ever has known Esther.

On Purim it is mitzvah to listen to "the megilla". (A mitzvah is a commandment. The purpose of a mitzvah is to help the individual and the nation come closer to God and to holiness) The megilla Esther is the scroll from which is read the story of Esther. Both on the evening that Purim begins and the following morning the "megilla" is read in the synagogue.

It is also tradition to dress up and to eat special pastry: the so-called Hamentashen, Haman's Ears and "Ozney Haman" (see: Israeli cuisine). On Purim one brings some nice refreshment to friends and acquaintances. Furthermore you are considered giving tsedaka (charity) to at least two good causes.

The festival frequently is compared to carnival, because it has exuberance and joy, with lively songs and disguise parties.


BIBLICAL REFERENCES:
The Book of Esther or the Megillah