Friday, March 25, 2005

Happy Festivities

I knew it was Good Friday,

but being quite ignorant about Jewish holidays, it took me by surprise and pricked my curiosity when I saw on my Calendar that it was also "Purim", so I thought I'd look it up and here's what I found.


Purim is the most festive of Jewish holidays commemorating the deliverance of the Persian Jews from destruction as recorded in the Book of Esther.

During the time of King Ahasuerus, one of his ministers, Haman, sought to destroy the Jews in revenge for being snubbed by the Jew Mordecai, who refused to bow down to him. With the king's authority, he draws lots (pur) to determine the fateful day, which falls on the 13th of the month of Adar.

Learning of this decree, Mordecai approaches the new queen, his cousin Esther, to intercede with the king. Esther, who has not revealed her Judaism publicly, fasts for three days in preparation for this task. At a banquet for the king and Haman, she denounces the evil Haman, who is eventually hanged.

Because a royal decree could not be voided - including the decree ordering the extermination of the Jews -- Mordecai had to send another decree to all the provinces. This letter authorizes the Jews to protect themselves from their enemies. The days following the Jews' struggle with their enemies (the 14th and 15th of Adar, the 12th month of the Jewish Calendar) are declared days of feasting and merrymaking, today celebrated as Purim.

This year (2005) Purim begins at sundown on the 24th of March and goes to Friday evening, March 25th. It is perhaps the most joyous day of the Jewish year, with masquerades, plays, and drinking of wine even in the synagogue. Sometimes it's even compared to a "Jewish mardi gras"

Purim is celebrated by:

  • Reading Megillat Esther, (Scroll of Esther)
  • Mishloach Manot - Sending food to friends and neighbours,
  • Matanot L'evyonim - Giving gifts to the poor, and
  • Enjoying a Purim Seuda (meal), feasting and merriment.
The entire month of Adar ( and not just Purim itself ) is a time for silliness and humour, and making lots of noise with Graggers ( noisemaker rattles ) during the reading of the Scroll of Esther when Haman's name is mentioned.


Christine said...

Have a nice weekend!

SiaoChaBoa said...

Happy Easter..and thank you for the postcard again..!! it's lovely..!!

Dennis said...

Jewish history goes back a long way. I've always found it interesting.

KEF said...

Are you Jewish pulak?

Dennis said...

By the way, I first met my wife 6 years ago in an "American Jews" chatroom (we've been married for 5 years since).

Pickle said...

Happy Easter Letti, in the UK a lot of people forget about the Religious aspect and focus on the fact they have two days off work (Good Friday and Easter Monday)and also the fact that they will get to eat loads of Chocolate Easter eggs.

Agnes said...

Interesting post ... thanks for the info. Happy Easter.

Agnes said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Agnes said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
void said...

Letti - you're brillant. I started following your blog weeks ago - simply, because I too was a medical transplant to Abilene twenty years ago. I used to live on Beck Ave off of Buffalo Gap. Your ebullience is contagious!

letti said...

mike: thanks for dropping by :) I tried to send you an email, but it said there was an error. Are you still in abilene, though?

letti said...

Definition and etymology. Good Friday, called Feria VI in Parasceve in the Roman Missal, he hagia kai megale paraskeue (the Holy and Great Friday) in the Greek Liturgy, Holy Friday in Romance Languages, Charfreitag (Sorrowful Friday) in German, is the English designation of Friday in Holy Week -- that is, the Friday on which the Church keeps the anniversary of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Raven | Homepage | 03.26.05 - 8:46 am | #

Sorry for the duplicate posting ... Blogger's fault!
Agnes | Homepage | 03.26.05 - 12:29 pm | #