Purim is undoubtedly the most joyful and festive holiday in Judaism. Indeed, it is an opportunity to dress up for the little ones, to party and get drunk for the older ones. Let's discover the dates of Purim in 2022, the history and the celebrations of this day of biblical remembrance.
When is Purim in 2022?
In 2022, the Purim holiday takes place from Wednesday, March 16 (sunset) to Thursday, March 17 (until nightfall) .
Note that a fast takes place on March 16: it is the Fasting of Esther.
In the Hebrew calendar, Purim is celebrated on the 14th day of the month of Adar. This corresponds to the last winter full moon. Just before the first full moon of spring, which corresponds to the Passover holiday.
Purim Story: Mordecai and the Book of Esther
To fully understand the history of Purim, you have to go back to the 4th century BC. Here is the story of Purim as described in the book of Esther.
Long ago, the king of the Persian Empire, Ahasuerus, condemned his wife Vasti for disobedience. Then he summoned all the young girls of the kingdom to find a new wife. He married Esther, a beautiful young woman of Jewish origin and niece of Mordecai. But under the order of her uncle, Esther concealed her Jewish origins.
Soon after, Haman won the confidence of King Ahasuerus and became prime minister. He passed a decree, signed by the king, to exterminate all the Jewish people. The date of the massacre was drawn by lot (Purim means “lot”): 13 Adar.
Mordecai (or Mordechai) refused to bow down to Haman. Mordecai convinced the Jews to repent, fast, and pray to Gd.
To protect her people, Esther threw a feast at which she revealed her origins Jews. Haman and his ten sons were hanged and Mordecai became prime minister.
Following this reversal of the situation, the Jews therefore escaped the massacre and were authorized by the king to defend themselves against their enemies. After a day of battle, the Jews celebrated their victory. Thus, Purim became a day of celebration for all subsequent generations.
How is Purim celebrated?
The day of Purim is marked by 4 religious obligations (mistvots): the ritual reading of the Book of Esther (the Megillah), a joyous feast, the sending of baskets of food and giving to the poor.
Although the days of Purim are Yom Tov, it is not mandatory to restrict one's activities and marriage is permitted . However, it is still advisable to avoid any professional activity that would prevent you from fully enjoying this day.
Reading the Megillah
On the day of the feast, at the morning and evening offices, the scroll of Esther is read. Adults and children can attend the reading in disguise. Every time Aman's name is mentioned, the foot is stamped in protest. This very ancient practice consists of erasing the memory of Amalek, ancestor of Haman.
The Purim Meal
Jews have a duty to make a big festive meal on the day of Purim. Unlike other Jewish holidays, the meal must take place during the day. This meal must consist of meats, bread and wine.Every man has the right and the duty to get drunk on the day of Purim, to the point of no longer distinguishing between "Arur Haman" (cursed be Haman) and "Baruch Mordechai". (blessed be Mordecai)
Mishloach manot, the Purim basket
The Mitzvah of "Mishloach Manot" mentioned in the Megillah, consists of sending, on the day of Purim, a basket of at least two different foods ready to eat, to at least least one Jewish person around him (friends, family, neighbours, etc.). According to the Halakha, each person who has completed their Bar or Bat Mitzvah must send a Mishloah Manot.
The baskets can be given in person or through children, who are then rewarded with sweets and treats.
In addition to the Purim basket, it is obligatory to perform the Mitzvah of giving money to at least two different poor people.
What arepurim cakes?
During the Purim celebration, cakes and pastries are in the spotlight. Among the Purim cakes we can cite the white cakes, which symbolize the innocence and purity of Queen Esther. Also, we find the Purim Kuhlich, the famous Jewish holiday donuts with cinnamon. Or the mantecados (small shortbread cookies) and the Haman's ears which are small filled cakes that are prepared exclusively for the day of Purim. Indeed, these cakes are little symbolic nods to the biblical character of Haman, from whom the Jewish people were delivered. All oriental pastries (cigars, makroud with honey, gazelle horns, etc.) are welcome, and we do not hesitate to offer some to our loved ones.
Why do we dress up on Purim?
Purim is considered the Jewish carnival. Costumes and disguises are in the spotlight during this festive day. In Israel, adults and children dress up to go to school or to work. Everyone marches through the streets with joy and pride. But why do we dress up on Purim? First of all, it is a homage to Queen Esther, who had to hide her Jewish identity to protect herself and her people. Symbolically, she disguised herself as a queen, but without forgetting her values, that is to say her Jewish identity.
On the other hand, we celebrate the permission given to the people by King Ahasuerus to break the rules. And finally, "Purim" meaning "fate", isn't it the best day to laugh at fate and the reversal of events in our favor?
Find out more:
Discover the 2022 calendar of Jewish holidays