Purim Quick Facts - GB

AKA NameFestival of lots
HashtagsCompiled on#Purim
Related Hashtags#ShabbatShalom, #BringThemHome
2024 Date23 March 2024
2025 Date14 March 2025


Top X Posts (formerly Tweets) for Purim -


Purim History

Purim commemorates the account of the biblical Book of Esther. This particular observance emphasises themes of deliverance and joy as it marks the salvation of the Jewish people from a planned extermination during the ancient Persian Empire. Central aspects to the observance include the reading of the Book of Esther, the sharing of food gifts known as mishloach manot, partaking of a feast (se'udah), giving charity to the less fortunate (matanot la'evyonim), and expressive merriment.

Historically, Purim's narrative traces back to the reign of King Ahasuerus of Persia and involves pivotal figures such as Queen Esther, her uncle Mordecai, and the villainous Haman. For the Jewish community in the United Kingdom, Purim holds a profound resonance as it symbolises the enduring resilience and survival of their cultural identity despite adversities. During a time when antisemitism was rampant, the history of Purim served as a reminder of the Jewish people's capacity to persist and thrive against tumultuous odds.

In the United Kingdom, Purim is observed with the same traditional customs practiced worldwide by Jewish communities. The scroll of Esther, the Megillah, is read in synagogues while attendees shake noise-makers called graggers to drown out the name of Haman whenever it's mentioned. It is also common for individuals, particularly children, to dress in costumes aligned with the figures from the Book of Esther, attending feasts and exchanging care packages (mishloach manot). Purim normally takes place in late February or early March, depending on the Hebrew calendar. It begins at sundown on the 13th day of Adar and concludes at nightfall on the 14th, offering a day filled with joyous celebration.

Facts about Purim

  • Purim is considered to be a joyous holiday often accompanied by celebrations, plays, festive food and costume parties.
  • Purim holiday is often preceded by fast, referred to as the Fast of Esther. This fast commemorates Esther's three days of fasting in preparation for her meeting with the king. The fast is observed from dawn until dusk on the eve of Purim.
  • The story of Purim is told in the book of Esther, which is also known as "the Scroll" (Megillah in Hebrew).
  • In British history, there was a Jewish Queen, Queen Esther who shares her name with the heroine of the Purim story. Though there's no direct connection, the intriguing coincidence has often been noted during Purim celebrations.
  • The customs of Matanot LaEvyonim (giving of gifts to the poor) and Mishloach Manot (exchanging of food parcels) are widely observed in the UK during Purim, reinforcing the themes of unity and charity within the Jewish community.

Top things to do in the UK for Purim

  • Make a Mishloach Manot (also known as mishloach manos or shalach manos). This is a gift of at least two kinds of food that are ready to eat. Give them out to neighbors, friends and associates.
  • Make Hamantaschen cookies. These are pocket triangle shaped cookies that are often made with fruit, poppy seed or cheese filling.
  • Attend the Purim Spiel: Purim Spiels are theatrical presentations that tell the story of Purim in a fun and entertaining way. Synagogues and Jewish community centers across the UK host these plays, perfect for the whole family.
  • Read a book to learn more about Purim in United Kingdom:
    Jewish London: A Comprehensive Guidebook for Visitors and Londoners - by Rachel Kolsky and Roslyn Rawson: Provides a look into the Jewish culture and how holidays like Purim are celebrated in the United Kingdom's capital.
    Jewish Living: A Guide to Contemporary Reform Practice - by Mark Washofsky: This book gives a detailed overview of Jewish practices.

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