BY AMANDA MOSES
Purim is a joyous Jewish holiday that begins Thursday, February 25th at sundown and ends Friday evening, February 26th. Similar to Halloween, it is customary for those who celebrate Purim to don fun costumes and enjoy sweets, such as pastries like hamantaschen.
Purim pays tribute to the salvation of the Jewish people in ancient Persia, where they escaped extermination. The story takes place in 4th century BCE when King Ahasuerus fell in love and married a beautiful young woman named Esther; however, she never revealed that she was Jewish to him. Many Jewish people wear costumes and masks to symbolize Esther concealing her heritage.
Under the king was an advisor named Haman, who plotted to eradicate all Jews, however, Queen Esther stepped in to save them. She fasted for three days so that God would recognize her plea for help. She confessed her secret to the King, who then made a decree that Jews may fight against any anti-Semitic Persian. On the 13th day of Adar (This is the month in the Jewish Calendar.), the Jews mobilized to kill their enemies, and the next day they celebrated. Since then, the holiday has been known as Purim.
This religious occasion is also celebrated by hosting a retelling of the scroll of Esther in the megillah (this is done on the eve of Purim and the next day). Other ways to observe this holiday is to give money to the poor, send food to those in need, and enjoy a delicious feast with family. Since the pandemic has many of us separated, you can dress up and join virtual chats with family and friends where you recite the story of Purim and enjoy sweet treats.
Here is a list of a few delicious foods to enjoy during Purim:
• Hamantaschen (sweet pastry)
• Kreplach (Russian dumpling)
• Challah (sweet bread)
• Creamy Coleslaw and Pickles
• Butternut Apple Soup
• Vegan Thai Coconut Soup
If you would like to learn more about Purim dishes and traditions, visit: https://www.chabad.org/recipes/recipe_cdo/aid/1365/jewish/PurimFoods.htm