Last night at sundown, the Jewish holiday of Purim started.
It is by far the best holiday out there. Here’s why.
1. The story of Purim is very, very soap opera-y.
Purim (it’s pronounced POOR-im) is told in the Book of Esther in the Tanakh. And it’s very, very dramatic.
The tl;dr version: A beautiful woman named Esther is taken into King Ahasuerus of Persia’s harem and he falls for her and makes her his queen (but he doesn’t know that she is secretly Jewish). Meanwhile, Esther’s cousin Mordechai gets into an argument with the villain of our story, Haman.
Haman is an adviser to the King and an all around evil guy. Mordecai refuses to bow down to Haman, and Haman gets pissed off about it, and orders all of the Jews in the kingdom killed.
2. And a little bit sexy.
But THEN, using her ~feminine wiles~ Esther reveals Haman’s plot to the King, and convinces him to stop Haman.
The King hangs Haman and his ten sons, and the Jews are saved.
3. On Purim, you’re basically required to get wasted.
An ancient Jewish text contains this line: “A person is obligated to drink on Purim until he does not know the difference between ‘cursed be Haman’ and ‘blessed be Mordechai.’” OK, yes, there is some debate over what exactly that means, but many Jews take it to mean, “Drink up!”
5. It’s also a chance for you to show off dramatic flair….
Every year, Jews perform a Purim Spiel, or play, where they act out the story of Purim.
6. … and make a LOT of noise.
There are tons of different versions of the play — but in all of them, you’re supposed to yell “BOOO” really loudly whenever Haman is mentioned, and cheer really loudly when Mordechai’s name is said. (This goes hand-in-hand with all the drinking).
Plus, audience members at the play are given these things called “groggers” that make a lot of noise. You also swing those around whenever Haman comes on stage.
7. And maybe mess with your non-Jewish friends.
A fun thing to try for your next Purim spiel: Make a non-Jewish friend play Haman, and watch his reaction when everyone starts booing.
8. Oh, and did I mention it’s (kind of) Jewish Halloween?
Kids get dressed up in costume and go door-to-door in their neighborhoods.
9. But it’s kind of the nicer version of Halloween.
Technically, it’s more like reverse Halloween. Kids hand out treats instead of receiving them.
10. There are a lot of cute kids out and about.
Like, really cute
11. And costumes in places you wouldn’t expect.
12. And as with every Jewish holiday, the most important thing is the food.
Haman is famous for wearing a tri-cornered hat, and no Purim is complete without cookies shaped like the hat. These are called Hamantaschen, and they’re AMAZING.
The traditional filling is poppy seed, but there’s also jam and chocolate.
13. There are even hamantaschen eating competitions.
14. And hamantaschen-themed jewlery.
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