Tonight starts the celebration of Purim, the Jewish carnival. But the day is way more than just a regular carnival. Every ritual is laced with meaning and infused with spirituality. We are fasting today; the fast of Esther. If you know the story of Purim, you might know that Queen Esther and the Jews fasted for three days prior to Queen Esther going into the king to plead for salvation for the Jewish Nation who was about to be destroyed by the evil advisor to the king, Haman. Purim celebrates the miracle and the salvation of the Jewish nation.
Tonight every Jew is going to hear the Megillah (Book of Esther) read out loud. I, and every other Jewish person knows the story by heart but I still get a thrill about how the story unfolds. (Find the story in short HERE)
So Purim is a day of happiness, it’s a mitzvah (commandment) to be merry and happy. Children dress up and then there is the giving of mishloach manot which is “literally, “sending of portions”; also spelled and pronounced mishloach manos), or shalach manos(Yiddish) and also called a Purim basket, are gifts of food or drink that are sent to family, friends, and others on Purim. The mitzvah of giving mishloach manot derives from the Book of Esther. It is meant to ensure that everyone has enough food for the Purim feast held later in the day, and to increase love and friendship among Jews and their neighbors.” -Wikipedia
Since my husband works in a fish shop, our mishloach manos is a fish platter, here is a picture for you!
Of course, the kids have to give their own friends as well, this is what my daughter prepared for her friends:
She also goes and visits her teachers where she gets a treat and just to show off her costume! Her choice of dress up is a fancy lady from the olden times. (pictures will be posted in my private FB group).
It’s also a very auspicious day for prayer. It’s a day to beseech for personal salvation and miracles.
We will be eating the midday meal by my parents. At night, when most people eat their main meal, we will go to my mother in law and then to my aunt and uncle where it’s a lot of fun. All the boys from the local schools come by with a skit, music, and dance in order to collect money for the schools. One of the three commandments of Purim is to give charity and every school tries their best to make it the most fun and original.
For the children, Purim is the holiday they look forward to the most. No wonder, with the amount of junk food they receive. Even though that part doesn’t really excite me, I am also looking forward to that wonderful, holy, joyous holiday of Purim!