Next week one of the major Jewish holidays, Purim, begins on Monday night, March 6, and continues through Tuesday, March 7. “The holiest day of the year is Yom Kippur, which is known in the Bible as Yom HaKipurim. The happiest day of the year is Purim”
“How does one celebrate so awesome a day? A few key ways were ordained by the sages. The first is to listen to the miraculous story. Head to your synagogue, temple, or Chabad center and hear the whole Megillah. The story is traditionally read both in the evening and in the morning. When Haman’s name is mentioned in the reading, children twirl graggers (noisemakers) and adults stamp their feet to eradicate his evil name. Purim is about friendship and community. Therefore, another tradition is to share at least two different ready-to-eat food items and/or beverages with at least one Jewish acquaintance during the daylight hours of this festival. Purim is also about caring. For this reason, we remember the needy by giving charity to at least two needy people during the daylight hours of Purim. If you don’t meet any poor people, place at least two coins in a charity box for those who are less fortunate. Purim is about sharing your joy. During the daylight hours of Purim, people gather with friends and family for a feast with wine. They sing, laugh, and have fun together. Traditionally, the Purim feast lasts well into the evening.”
According to Jonathan Krasner, a professor of Jewish education and Judaic studies at Brandeis University, “The proper greeting for people celebrating Purim is “happy Purim,” or chag Purim sameach in Hebrew. The phrase Chag sameach means “happy holiday” and can be used for any joyous Jewish holiday. on Purim specifically, its usage is special. It certainly fits Purim very well because Purim is definitely one of the most happy, merry, joyful holidays on the Jewish calendar,”.
The holiday is so much fun because it truly is a celebration of family and community, Krasner says. A number of other Jewish holidays address much darker and more “grownup themes,” Krasner explains, which only makes the joy and fun of Purim more prevalent and important. “Many of the holidays are kind of heavy,” Krasner says. “Purim really stands out as a kind of frivolity, a time for joy, a time to let your hair down a little bit.”