Five Fast Purim Facts

By Tara Kieschnick, MJBI Media and Communications Manager
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Posted in on December 3rd, 2017

Here’s some interesting trivia you may not know about Purim, one of the most joyous holidays on the Jewish Calendar!

1. Purim celebrations include masquerading with masks and costumes, but no one knows why. Speculation abounds, but some popular theories claim:
a) Jews have had to hide their faith at certain times, just as Esther did from King Xerxes.
b) Because God’s name was never included in the story line, a mask is worn to represent His choice to “mask” Himself in the Book of Esther. While His name isn’t mentioned, His hand, character and heart are evident throughout.
c) Some have attributed the wearing of masks to the influence of the Roman Catholic carnival (Mardi Gras) tradition that began in the 14th century; it usually coincides with Purim.

2. The Book of Esther was the last book in the Jewish Tanach to be canonized by the Great Assembly of rabbis around 200 BCE.

3. Ever heard of the word “spiel”? It has its origins in Purim. It is a comical, satirical performance that tells the story of Esther. So as long as it’s funny, it can be a spiel!

4. Purim is considered more of a minor “national” holiday as opposed to a “religious” one, which is why business transactions take place on this day.

5. The story of Esther, or “The Megillah,” is read out loud in its entirety during special synagogue services on the holiday.


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