Where can you celebrate Purim in March
Jewish Mardi Gras anyone? Enter Carnival-Purim! celebrate Purim on the 14th and 15th days of Adar, the twelfth month of the Jewish Calendar which coincides with March. Purim has a carnival-like atmosphere, with people either wearing their best Sabbath clothing or fancy dress – with King Xerxes, Vashti, Queen Esther, Mordecai and Haman among the most popular costumes. Where can you join in the fun? These are the Best cities to celebrate Jewish Carnival-Purim in March.
What is Purim?
If you’re not familiar with Purim, let us enlighten you. With costumes, spiels and lots of drinking, Purim is one of Judaism’s most raucous holidays. You will know beautiful Esther thwarting evil Haman’s plans, the custom of getting drunk and what hamantaschen are. But we’re guessing there are a few things about this holiday that might surprise you and will be good to know if you’re planning on joining in the festivities and celebrate Purim.
Who Is Esther?
The Book of Esther forms the basis of Purim. The story follows Esther, who is chosen to be the wife and Queen of King Ahasuerus believed to be Xerxes I of Persia.
When the King’s adviser, Haman, persuades him to kill all the Jews in the empire, Queen Esther’s cousin and adopted father, Mordecai, calls on her to use her influence to stop the bloody plan.
The tale is told in the Book of Esther, known as the Megillah, and ends with Haman’s hanging and the Jewish people being saved.
Interesting Facts about Purim:
Here’s a cool conversation starter. Did you know that Esther was a vegetarian (or at least a flexitarian). According to Midrash, while Queen Esther lived in the court of King Ahasuerus, she followed a vegetarian diet consisting largely of legumes so that she would not break the laws of kashrut(dietary laws). For this reason, there is a tradition of eating beans and peas when you celebrate Purim. (After all, you’ll need something healthy after all the booze and hamantaschen.)
If this festival didn’t sound awesome enough already, we now get presents too! The verse in the Book of Esther about mishloach manot stipulates that we should send gifts to one another, not just give gifts to one another. As a result, it’s better to send your packets of goodies to a friend via a messenger, than to just give them outright. Anyone can act as a go-between, so feel free to recruit the postal service or even that nice guy in the elevator to help you deliver your gifts.
Convenience? We like it!
The Book of Esther is the only biblical book that does not include God’s name:
The Book of Esther also makes no references to the Temple, to prayer, or to Jewish practices such as kashrut [keeping kosher].
We’re Not Over Hamantaschen just yet…
They triangular shaped and were said to be designed to symbolize Haman’s hat, ears or pockets. Or something a little more womanly. Some say these cookies represent Haman’s ears (the Hebrew name for them, oznei Haman, means just this), and refer to a custom of cutting off a criminal’s ears before his execution. The three corners represent the three patriarchs whose power weakened Haman and gave strength to Esther to save the Jews. Yet another theory: Because the German word tasche means “pouch” or “pocket,” the cookies could signify Haman’s pockets and the money he offered the king for permission to kill the Jews.
On the subject of Food when you celebrate Purim:
For Ashkenazi Jews, perhaps the most widely held food tradition on Purim is eating triangular-shaped foods such as kreplach and hamantashen pastries. Kreplach is a pasta triangle filled with ground beef or chicken. Hamantashen are triangles of pastry dough surrounding a filling often made with dates or poppy seeds.
One of the most popular explanations for this tradition is that these triangular foods represent Haman’s three-cornered hat. However, because it has been argued that this style of hat wasn’t popular during this time period, there are a lot of other, lesser-known explanations for why we eat triangular-shaped foods at Purim.
King Ahasuerus reigned from India to Ethiopia, from “Hodu to Kush.” In Hebrew, the word hodu means both “India” and “turkey.” Thus, some people eat turkey when they celebrate Purim. Others eat Ethiopian dishes such as Ethiopian lentils. To incorporate a turkey dish into your Purim meal, try roast turkey with caramelized onion-balsamic gravy or panko-crusted turkey cutlets with cranberry and pear chutney.
In order to be Kosher, Queen Esther ate a vegetarian diet while living in King Achashverosh’s Palace. In her honor, many people serve a meatless meal for their Purim feast. Esther’s diet consisted of nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes. This is one explanation behind the custom to eat poppy seeds during the holiday, which turn up most iconically in Ashkenazi hamantaschen as mohn filling.
This All Sounds Familiar…
If this description of Purim sounds familiar, that is because it is like nothing so much as Mardi Gras.
Purim and Mardi Gras each fall exactly one month before a major, perhaps the major religious observance of their respective traditions. Each serves, paradoxically, as a farcical introduction to a period of deep religious seriousness. For Christians, the excess of Fat Tuesday serves as an outlet for self-assertion and self-gratification before the period of Lent, with its prolonged period of self-denial and even self-mortification.
Purim is seen as the gateway to the frantic but deeply serious and demanding period. The of preparation for Passover that customarily begins the morning after Purim.
Where to Celebrate Purim activities throughout Europe
Now that we have given you the details, let’s tell you where to find the action!
Purim in Budapest:
Budapest in March celebrates the end of the winter cold with many good spring festivals to enjoy. Saturdays and Sundays are especially loaded in March. Various venues and events celebrate Purim in Budapest. Furthermore, several synagogues in Budapest including the largest Dohany Street Synagogue. Furthermore, the Balint House community center for Jewish citizens in Budapest will host events for Purim.
Purim in Zurich:
Now Organised for the second year in a row by ARIEL – Union of Jewish Students Geneva. In fact, there are more than 300 students and young adults from the following countries: Switzerland, France, Belgium, Austria, and many other places. These Purim party goers will meet to celebrate Purim together over a unique weekend in Zurich. For tickets and more info, head over to their Facebook Page.
Purim in Paris:
This year, celebrate Purim in Paris. The City of Lights, The City of Love, The City of Art. It is now also the City of the incredible Young Jewish MorristownPurim Party! Come along with your most elegant Parisian Purim attire. You can find this party at the stunning Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown. The event is catering For Young Jewish Professionals aged 21-39. Get Tickets HERE
Purim in London:
Come through your looking glass book a ticket to a themed Purim Tea Party. Hosted at the beautiful Aubrey Park Hotel in The Garden Room on Sunday 17th March, 2019 at 3pm. Enjoy good company, eat lots of naughty things and win prizes. It just gets curiouser and curiouser. The ticket price includes tea/coffee, cakes, scones, and sandwiches… and hamantaschen! Get Tickets HERE
Reaching your favourite place to party for Purim is easy by Train. Just head on over to SaveATrain and purchase a ticket in minutes, with no pesky fees!
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