Purim (פורים) is the Jewish holiday of joy. Everyone is happy (שמח) on Purim! There are many customs (מנהגים) of Purim that are very interesting. This is the one holiday in the Jewish calendar which happened outside Israel in Persia, but it is a beloved holiday by kids and adults alike.
In Israel, Purim is a bit like the European Carnival, but comes later in the year. The date (תאריך) in the Jewish calendar is the 14th of Adar, and in Jerusalem the 15th. The celebrations take place in the early spring usually in late February or early March. The kids start by getting their parents to go to the toy stores and buy costumes (תילבושת). Traditionally kids used to make their own to dress up as Queen Esther, Mordechai or King Asuerus. Now kids dress up as traditional characters, but also you will find Batman, Ninjas, lots of Policemen and Soldiers.
In school, there is no real learning the week (שבוע) of Purim. The schools run a Shuk Purim where games of skill and chance are played by throwing balls, or darts, hopefully magnetic, and most everyone wins a prize.
Purim Day is celebrated in Israel by first listening to the Megilla (מגילה), the book of Esther, being read aloud in the synagogue, in the evening. This a very noisy affair. Then everyone goes home to have a Purim Party (סעודת פורים). There are special Purim songs that are sung, and one of the most surprising features for a Jewish holiday is that it is permitted to get drunk (שיכור).
The next day we go again to the synagogue to hear the Megilla, and then you exchange food gifts (משלוח מנות) with your friends and neighbors. Donations (תורמות) of money to the poor is given out on Purim Day so that the poor can be happy as well.
Have fun on Purim!
Vocabulary about Purim