Did you know there is a holiday that celebrates the story of the book of Esther? It’s called Purim and if you read Esther 9:20-32, you will find it’s very beginnings. Many Jews and even some Christians still celebrate Purim as a way of remembering not only the story of Esther, but also God’s goodness and protection.
Purim has always been a celebration of joy and feasting. It is also a time to share food gifts with others and to give to the poor. Today, Purim is celebrated by dressing in costumes and reenacting the story of Esther. Traditionally, those in the audience cheer whenever Mordecai and Esther are mentioned and boo when the evil Haman is named.
Hamantaschen cookies weren’t a part of the original celebration of Purim, but the cookies were added around the 1300’s probably in Eastern Europe. The reasons they began to be eaten are a bit muddled, but there’s no doubt it adds to the joy of the celebration.
Since Purim begins tonight and lasts until sun down tomorrow night, your family can have a little Purim fun while revisiting the book of Esther. (If your schedule is too busy, you can celebrate it on Friday night or the weekend when you have more time.) Take turns reading it from the Bible, or tell the story to your kids. There are even a few good picture books retelling the story in a more condensed version.
Have some fun with it. Cheer for Mordecai and Esther. Boo for Haman. Eat some hamantaschen cookies (Our Costco carries them as do bakeries in many places.). If you are really industrious, you can find plenty of recipes for hamantaschen online. (It’s basically a sugar cookie with a fruit jam or poppy seed filling. The only trick is getting the triangle to stay a triangle!)
Don’t forget the part of the celebration that involves serving others. Take a basket of food or a plate of hamantaschen cookies to share with a neighbor or someone you know who may be lonely. Do something to serve the poor. It’s a great way to spend an evening as a family.