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If you like to dress up and act weird – here is your chance. Purim is celebrated in a carnival like atmosphere with reading of ”The book of Esther”, Megillat Esther.
The story of Purim is the tale of a near-destruction of the Jewish people as decreed by Haman, the evil advisor and prime minister to the Persian King Ahasverosh.
The short version is like this: The King’s second wife, “Megillat Esther”, who is secretly a Jew, convinces the King, that Haman, is dangerous to the Jewish people. Together with her uncle Mordecai, she ensures that Haman is disarmed.
Synagogues and communities create their own “purimsphiels” – reinactments from Esthers Scroll. Traditionally, a noisemaker gragger is sounded everytime Hamans name is mentioned during the reading about Queen Esther and The Persian King.
At Purim we bake and serve Hamantaschen (hamentashen, homentash, in Hebrew – oznai Haman) – pocket filled pastry. The filling can be poppy seeds, prunes, nuts, dates, apricots, raspberries, raisins, apple, fig, chocolate, halva, caramel or cream cheese – just to mention a few varieties.
The shape of the Hamantashen is said to symbolize the pouch or pocket (tasch – from Germany languages) of “Haman’s pockets”, meaning the money Ahasverosh was offered by Haman in exchange for permission to destroy the Jews. Eating the Hamantashen (also referred to as Haman’s ears) is supposed to symbolize the defeated enemy of the Jewish people.