Costume parades in the spring? What is going on? Halloween is in October and not in the spring. Well for many Jewish people costume parades and wearing costumes to synagogue in the spring (usually in March) is common. Why? Well they are celebrating a holiday called Purim. Purim is celebrated on the fourteenth day of the Hebrew month of Adar. The Hebrew calendar is a lunar calendar so it changes from our days and months each year. It is a joyous holiday with much celebration. Why do they celebrate? To remember how Queen Esther saved the Jewish people in Persia around 500 B.C. Now Esther's story is a book in the Old Testament of our Bible as well and Queen Esther happens to be Hazel's favorite woman in the Bible. We know her story well and really wish we celebrated Purim as well. In fact she dressed up as Queen Esther for our Christian Halloween Party.
She also wore the costume when we explored Iran and reviewed Queen Esther's story as part of Global Learning for Kids. For this we made a crown and scepter to go with the story as well as peg people to retell the story.
So for this exploration of Purim we read some Purim stories and books about the holiday.
These books were really fun. In one the narrator, a girl, was trying to figure out why they wear masks and costumes as well as some of the other customs. Another discussed choosing a costume and another discussed making the Purim treats, Hamantaschen. Most of them included the story of Esther at least shortened versions. One of the ones we enjoyed a lot was The Better-Than-Best Purim by Naomi Howland. This story reminded us of The Little Red Hen, but had a much better ending. None of her pets will help the little old lady make the hamantaschen. In the end though there is a very happy celebration. I don't want to ruin the surprise. The book included a recipe for Better-Than-Best Hamantaschen. We of course had to try the recipe. (Several of the books had recipes but this one looked the most flavorful.) We did not use the typical filling for prune or apricot jam. Instead we used apple and raspberry jams since that is what we had in the house.
We served them warm to Hazel and her friend for their tea party on Sunday after church. They loved them!! Traditionally they are shaped like Haman's three point hat or in a triangle. Mine did not have the best shape to them since I was making them quickly for the girls and I was lazy and did not roll out the dough but cut the circles from the dough as it came out of the refrigerator (like slice and bake kind). Haman is the evil man of the story so eating Hamantaschen is a way the Jewish put Haman's plan to kill all the Jews down. They also bring noisemakers to the synagogue and any time his name is said in the story they create a great noise with the noisemakers and stamping their feet to put him down. It is also custom to make baskets of Hamantaschen to give to neighbors or friends.
|Hazel's Purim Peg Dolls|
Overall Purim is a fun holiday with lots of good things. I have more about the story of Queen Esther (the background story of Purim) and another book around the Purim holiday.
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