What is Purim?

March 21, 2019 / 14 Adar II, 5779


Sometimes called The Jewish Mardi Gras, Purim is the celebration of deliverance from a plot of extermination in Ancient Persia during the 6th century BCE. The word “Purim” means “lots” and refers to the lottery that Haman used to choose the date to kill the Jews.

It is customary to celebrate this holiday by dressing in costumes, eating and drinking, and listening to the Megillah (the Book of Esther which tells the story of Purim).



Ahashuerus.......... King of Persia
Vashti.................. First Wife of the King
Mordechai............ Leader of the Jews
Esther................. Second Wife of the King
Haman................ Prime Minister and Villain 

The Gragger

It is customary to scream, hiss and make noise with a gragger at the mention of Haman’s name during the reading of the Megillah.



The word hamantashen derived from two German words: mohn (poppy seed) and taschen (pockets). Mohntaschen is German for “poppy seed pockets” and was a popular German pastry. Hamantaschen means “Haman’s pockets” and became a popular Purim pastry. It was rumored that the evil Haman’s pockets were filled with bribe money.


The Four Mitzvot of Purim

1. Listen to the Megillah (story of Purim)

2. Give tzedakah (money or a meal) to those in need

3. Send gifts of food to friends and family

4. Eat a festive meal

Click here for a PDF of our infographic