Purim is a joyous and playful one-day holiday that falls during the Hebrew month of Adar (usually late February or March in the secular calendar). On Purim, we commemorate the story told in the book of Esther, which tells how Queen Esther and her cousin Mordechai saved the Jews of Persia who were threatened by an anti-Semitic plot devised by the evil Haman, an advisor to King Ahashverosh. This book, also called the megillah (scroll), is unique among other sacred texts in that it is considered a parody or a satire, and does not mention God.
Purim is considered the “upside down” holiday, which means we approach our celebrations with a spirit of levity and humor. Many celebrations include: Kriat megillah: a rowdy chanting (or listening to) the megillah read aloud where we “blot out” Haman’s name through noisemakers (groggers) and “boo-ing,” mishloach manot, sending gifts (often food) to friends, matanat l’evyonim, giving gifts to the poor, and seudat mitzvah, a festive meal, and dressing up in costumes.
Purim provides those of all ages with an opportunity for celebration. At Central, our Early Childhood Center holds a Purim carnival for the youngest members of our community. Our clergy team offers a silly service and megillah reading for all ages, and we often welcome guest performers (comedians, musicians, etc.) to further enliven our festivities.