Purim is the most fun-filled holiday of the Jewish year. It commemorates the miraculous salvation of the Jewish people more than two thousand years ago.
During this holiday it is customary to read the Book (scroll) of Esther, as this explains the whole history of how a Jewish beauty, Esther, saved her people after a decree ordering the extermination of all the Jews on the 13th of Adar was issued—a date chosen by a lottery Haman made (hence the name Purim, “lots”).
(left) Purim Noisemakers called a Grogger/ Ratchet/ Gragger.
Every time the name of Haman is read or said during Purim, a huge noise breaks loose so as to drown out the name of the man that wanted to kill all the Jews. (A person holds the handle and swings the whole mechanism around, making a very loud sound).
Foods of the Feast
Invite someone over for the festive meal. Have some fun table decorations ready as well as wine and/or grape juice.
When sending a food basket to friends, have the children deliver them, so as not to embarrass anyone.
Symbolic foods include 'Hamentaschen' (shaped like the triangle-shaped hat of Haman) and some wine to make you tipsy.
Traditional food such as burekas are also included.
In the Book of Esther there is no reference to Hashem.
It is tradition to wear masks/costumes which alludes to the miracle that was disguised/hidden in natural events.
We pretend to be someone else on Purim, since both the Jews’ and Hashem’s actions were masked by other intentions.
Costumes are worn by all to minimize the embarrassment of the poor who go around collecting charity on this day.
Four Special Mitzvahs
1. To hear the reading of the whole Book of Esther.
2. To show your unity to the Jewish people by giving charity to the poor.
3. Send gifts of food to friends/family.
4. Have a festive meal.
Ps. When 'dressing up' make sure your children masquerade as good, cheerful characters, such as Mordechai and Esther and not evil, mean characters such as witches and so forth.
Also still keep modesty in mind!!!!