Party on Down – it’s Purim in Israel and Fun is Mandatory!

Party on Down – it’s Purim in Israel and Fun is Mandatory!

Icon March 13, 2017
Icon By Sarah Rachel
Icon 0 comments

Purim, one of Israel’s most beloved and hilarious holidays, was celebrated last weekend with endless events around the country, beginning Thursday night in Tel Aviv and culminating yesterday with parades, parties, gift-giving, alcohol-drinking and the traditional ‘Megillah’ readings in synagogues up and down the land.

For anyone that doesn’t know the story behind Purim, here’s a basic recap.  In Ancient Persia, in the 4th Century, Mordechai was the leader of the Jews there and his cousin Esther was Queen.  Esther, however, did not tell her husband that she was a Jew.

Haman, the Prime Minister, was an evil man who wore a chain around his neck with a picture of an idol – and ordered everyone in the Court to bow down before him.  When Mordechai refused, Haman flew into a rage and decided to punish all of the Jews in the Kingdom.  He drew lots to decide which day he would carry out his plan – the day was 13th Adar.

Mordechai, in desperation, turned to Queen Esther who threw two banquets, at which she accused Hamas of evil deeds.  Gallows that were built for Mordechai were used on Human, the Jews defended themselves in battle against those out to destroy them and the holiday of Purim was then established.

Find it hard to follow?  Watch this cute link by Him Bam Media studio…

Video courtesy of Bam Bam studio – www.bimbam.com

Esther, of course, is a heroine – and the story can also be regarded as allegorical – the fight of a minority in a hostile world. Today, however, Purim is celebrated far beyond its religious roots with parades that feature cartoon characters and politicians alike, arts and crafts events for young children and parties for adults that go on all night long (including full-scale raves in secular Tel Aviv!)  That’s not to say that you can’t have a more ‘authentic’ experience though – for that, just head to Jerusalem and one of the more traditional quarters, like Mea Shearim, to see thousands of ultra-orthodox Jews dressed up and enjoying themselves (since it is a Biblical commandment to do so on this day).purim sweet

Pic. courtesy of Marla Hertzman, lovethycarrot.com

Jerusalem also celebrates ‘Shoshan Purim’ (the day after the rest of the country) – customary in walled cities.  At Purim, it is also traditional to give ‘misloach manot’ to those in need, and the treat of the day is hamantaschen (in Hebrew named ‘Oznei Haman’).  These are sweet pastries, typically filled with poppy seeds, and loved by children and adults like.

 

In Israel, in the last two days, celebrations rang out, the largest of which was the Adeloyada – a huge Purim Parade – in Holon.  Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the theme was “Heroes of our Childhood and Youth” and included floats with characters such as Mary Poppins, the Beatles, and Pippi Longstocking.

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Photo taken in a Holon warehouse where Pippi Longstocking was being made. Pic, courtesy of  Viva Sarah Press

Characters from ‘Frozen’ also made an appearance, Donald Trump showed up (wearing a ‘Clinton’ t-shirt!). and even the world’s greatest footballer, Lionel Messi, could be seen.  The parade also featured 4,500 dancers, drummers, bands and acrobats.  No wonder people flocked from all over the country to catch a glimpse of it.

The Holon parade wasn’t the only one of its kind though – the Adeloyada held in the Negev Desert, at the Ben Gurion Institute, was also attended by thousands across the south of the country.  The themes this year were ‘Dance of the Dead’ and ‘Space’ and the papier mache  figures were all made by the children of the community.  Here’s some wonderful photos of two ‘Dead’ women…

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Pics. courtesy of Sarah Mann

And here’s a short video of the celebrations by Yoel Fuermann…

Yoel Fuermann  – https://www.youtube.com/user/ZealotB1732

Keeping with tradition, the students led the parade, and after it was over the festivities continued with an arts and crafts fair on the central lawn.  The following day, since this is a community that prides itself on being ecologically friendly, the figures were all dismantled in the ‘greenest’ way possible – all the materials used were separated carefully and what could be used again was sent off for recycling!

 

Whatever way you look at it, Purim in Israel is about as fun as it gets…

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