Purim, also known as the Festival of Lots, is one of the most raucous holidays on the Jewish calendar. The celebration commemorates the Jewish people being saved from persecution in the ancient Persian Empire. Learn what to eat and how to dress your munchkin and get fun craft ideas for this special day.
When to Party?
On the Hebrew calendar, Purim is celebrated on the 14th of Adar, the day after the Jews triumphed over their enemies. Purim usually falls in late February or early March. In 2014, it begins at sundown on March 15.
Teach your kids the Purim story and then let them create their own skits and plays to celebrate. In case you're a little rusty, here's a rundown of the festival's history.
According to the Book of Esther, the trouble began when Mordecai, a Jewish advisor to the king, refused to bow down to Haman, who held a higher position in the king's court. Haman, the villain in the story, convinced King Ahasuerus to carry out a plan to eradicate all the Jews in the land. Haman cast lots (hence the name of the holiday) to determine the date he would carry out his plan: the 13th of Adar. In the end, the Jews were saved by the heroic Queen Esther. When Esther disclosed that she was Jewish herself, her husband, King Ahasuerus decided to reverse Haman's decree and the Jews triumphed over the evil Haman.
DIY Dress Up
Once your kids pick their favorite Purim characters, get inspired with homemade costume ideas for your little one. Here are some ideas for traditional costumes.
Queen Esther: Every little girl wants to be queen for a day.
King Ahasuerus: Turn your little boy into a regal king, and let him hold court over your Purim party.
Mordecai: Let your little one dress as the hero of the story.
If you're looking for a nontraditional costume, have your children dress up as awesome Mitzvah Kid superheroes. They can run around the party doing good deeds for family and friends.
The Perfect Purim Menu
Many Purim foods are meatless to honor Queen Esther, who became a vegetarian to keep kosher in the palace. Stuffed foods and triangle-shaped foods are also common traditions. Stuffed foods signify the surprises and hidden meanings in the Purim story. People eat triangle-shaped foods because they resemble Haman's hat. Check out these recipes to add to your party.
1. Hamantaschen Cookies: Make these triangle-shaped treats with your kids' favorite fillings.
2. Purim Party Punch: Mix up two kid-approved ingredients, sherbet and fruit punch, for a great party beverage.
3. Cream Cheese Candies: Let your kids pick the colors to mix and match these yummy candies for their friends.
4. Cheese Bourekas: Stuff these delicious puff pastries with three different cheeses for a classic Purim treat.
Lots and Lots of Fun!
Purim is a holiday filled with fun, food, crafts, and games. Help your kids make their own mishloach manot, or gifts of food, and other fun crafts to celebrate the holiday.
1. Lots of Noise: Make a classic Purim prop called a ra'ashan, or noisemaker. The tradition is to shake it and make noise every time the evil Haman is mentioned during the reading of the story, to blot out his name.
2. Lots of Gifts: Help your kids do a mitzvah, or a good deed, to family and friends. Create these homemade Purim baskets filled with food and drink to ensure that everyone has enough food for the feast.
3. Lots of Crafts: On Purim day, family and friends gather for a festive meal. Grab some recycled cardboard tubes and old shoeboxes and get your kids crafting on a castle-inspired table centerpiece to honor Queen Esther and King Ahasuerus.
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