Friday, March 21, 2008
Happy Purim! Happy Easter! Happy Spring!
Happy Purim to Everyone! Purim is one of my favorite holidays. Kids dress up in festive costumes, there is food and family everywhere, spring is in the air, and it's an atmosphere of celebration that the earth is coming to life again! There is an emphasis on charity works as well, and lets not forget the hamentaschen which is a definite favorite of mine! These slightly sweet pastries really make me think spring even more than jelly beans and chocolate bunnies! I had to go "procure" a few today now that the urge has struck, but don't worry, they're only 3 Weight Watchers points per yummy pastry! My personal favorite is prune, but raspberry, apple, poppyseed, chocolate, and others are generally available. YUM!
Since the various religions' holidays were "borrowed" from pagan celebration of naturally occuring occasions such as spring, yule, autumn, etc, Purim falls at about the same time as the other big religious spring holiday, Easter, though because of the Hebrew calendar and the Julian one having differences in the way dates rotate, they don't always fall at the same time. Nonetheless, they're both holidays of springtime renewal, and I hope all my friends enjoy the springtime and are enjoying seeing the plants and earth come alive again with beautiful flowers and buds. :)
More information on Purim: This information is from Wikipedia: Purim (Hebrew: פורים Pûrîm "lots", related to Akkadian pūru) is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people of the ancient Persian Empire from Haman's plot to annihilate them, as recorded in the Biblical Book of Esther (Megillat Esther). According to the story, Haman cast lots to determine the day upon which to exterminate the Jews.
Purim is celebrated annually according to the Hebrew calendar on the 14th day of the Hebrew month of Adar, the day following the victory of the Jews over their enemies; as with all Jewish holidays, Purim begins at sundown on the previous secular day. In cities that were protected by a surrounding wall at the time of Joshua, including Shushan (Susa) and Jerusalem, Purim is celebrated on the 15th of the month, known as Shushan Purim. Purim is characterized by public recitation of the Book of Esther (keriat ha-megilla), giving mutual gifts of food and drink (mishloach manot), giving charity to the poor (mattanot la-evyonim), and a celebratory meal (se'udat Purim); other customs include drinking wine, wearing of masks and costumes, and public celebration.
Jewish exiles from the Kingdom of Judah who had been living in the Babylonian captivity (6th Century BCE) found themselves under Persian rule after Babylonia was in turn conquered by the Persian Empire. According to the Book of Esther, Haman, royal vizier to King Ahasuerus / Xerxes, planned to kill the Jews, but his plans were foiled by Esther, who was made queen after Xerxes kicked out his previous queen, Vashti, and Mordechai, the palace gatekeeper for Xerxes who raised Esther when her parents died, though he was her cousin. This was evidence of divine intervention on behalf of the Jews. The Jews were delivered from being the victims of an evil decree against them and were instead allowed by the King to destroy their enemies, and the day after the battle was designated as a day of feasting and rejoicing.