This is a guest post by Cigall Goldman. Not only is Cigall a long time friend; she is also the founder of mazelmoments, an innovative website designed for anyone planning an event inspired by the Jewish culture. On her site, one can plan anything from a Jewish or interfaith wedding, bar & bat mitzvah, bris milah, and even kosher corporate events. Since I’m a gentile, I asked Cigall to fill me in on this awesome holiday. She runs the site with her amazing mother Sheryl and is a fabulous dining partner. Check out her site and read on…I think we’ll all be celebrating this holiday after reading. – Blanca
It’s March, and you suddenly find yourself surrounded by people, both young and old, dressed up in costumes. They’re making lots of noise, giving away candy, laughing, and eating triangle cookies. That’s when you know…It’s Purim!
Today, March 7th at sundown, the Jewish celebration of Purim officially begins. Purim, one of the most joyful Jewish holidays, is a celebration of the Jews, back in the biblical times, overcoming an evil plot to destroy them.
Purim festivities involve dressing in costume, wearing masks, making loud noises, drinking wine, exchanging baskets of goodies with friends and family, and giving to the poor. All in all a recipe for some serious fun!
Purim Custom: The Whole Megillah
On the evening that Purim begins and again on Purim day, families go to synagogue (temple) to hear the colorful story of Purim, the story of Jews uniting to foil their attempted genocide. Telling the story from the Book of Esther takes several hours. And that’s how we got the phrase “the whole megillah”meaning it’s a long, involved story.
Both children and adults are encouraged to attend these readings in costume. Every time the villain’s name, Haman, is mentioned, everyone boos and cranks their handheld noisemakers (gragers). It’s quite a scene!
Purim Food & Drink
Food plays a major role in celebrating Purim. As with most Jewish holidays, there is a festive meal, and on Purim drinking lots of wine is encouraged!
One of everyone’s favorite customs is the exchanging of Purim baskets (Mishloach Manot) filled with food, grape juice or wine, candy, and other tasty treats. Not only is it fun, delicious and charitable, it also symbolizes and reinforces the unity of the Jews.
Purim Trend: Creative Purim Baskets
Purim baskets traditionally contain some mix of cookies, candies, juice or wine, noisemakers, and other goodies. But the trend we’re seeing is to add much more creativity and personal touches to your Purim baskets. Here are some unique ideas for your Mishloach Manot:
Hamentashen, traditional Purim cookies, are a staple of the Purim Basket. These cookies are usually made with poppy seed, apricot, raspberry, or prune fillings. Why not be creative and fill them with white chocolate, halva (sesame paste), fig & almond paste, or even peanut butter & chocolate? You really can’t go wrong!
Rainbow Cake Shooters
Rainbow Cake Shooters are a fun and festive addition to your Purim basket. Available from the Pop Shop in NJ.
Sushi Candy Cupcakes
Children and adults alike will love these cupcakes decorated to look like sushi rolls. A great idea for any occasion!
For a unique and colorful treat, why not add colored popcorn? This easy to follow recipe from Kveller will add a beautiful and tasty pop of color to your Purim Basket.
Wishing everyone a wonderful Purim!