What Is Purim?

March 5 marks a popular Jewish celebration.

Purim is the most popular, fun-filled festivity on the Jewish calendar. Based on the book of Esther, Purim commemorates the period in ancient Persia when Esther and her cousin Mordechai thwarted royal advisor Haman’s attempts to annihilate the Jewish population. Unlike the more obvious miracle of Passover with 10 plagues and the parting of the Red Sea, the miracles of Purim are more subtle. Nevertheless, there’s drama in the Purim story, too.

Some Purim activities take place in homes such as baking triangular fruit-filled cookies called hamantaschen, assembling gifts bags and baskets—including at least two food items—for family and friends, giving to charity and hosting a special family meal. The community celebrations, however, are at the heart of Purim. While the scroll of Esther is read in synagogues, audiences are encouraged to cheer for the story’s heroes and holler whenever Haman’s name is mentioned. Synagogues also host parties and carnivals where kids and grown-ups dress up in costumes.


Visit jewishminneapolis.org/community-events-calendar for local Purim events. Chabad always hosts a fun and well-attended event. No affiliation necessary. 2845 Hedberg Drive, Minnetonka; 952.929.9922.