What Is Purim?

For those wondering what is Purim? The cheerful Jewish holiday is a celebration that commemorates the salvation of Jewish people from their persecution by the wicked leader, Haman in the ancient Persian Empire.

According to Biblical Book of Esther (also known as “Megillah”), Haman, who had risen to chief advisor to King Ahasuerus convinced him to kill all the Jews (because a Jew, Mordecai refused to bow to him). With the king’s blessing, he sent out a decree on 13 Adar, calling for all Jews to be wiped out.

This decree was overturned after word Mordecai sent word to Esther about the decree, causing her to call for a three-day fast among the Jews in the city.

what is purim

She then went to see the king and interceded on their behalf, and with God’s help she found favor in the king’s eyes.

When is Purim?

Pronounced Purim in Eastern tradition, the holiday is marked every year on the 14th of the Hebrew month of Adar, the twelfth month in the Jewish calendar that falls sometime late in winter/early spring, typically in the month of March.

On Jewish leap years, since there are two months called Adar, the holiday is celebrated in Adar II but also marked on 14 Adar I as a Small Purim.

As a holiday, Purim has its own traditional foods and customs and is accompanied with certain observances in the Jewish world.

Purim is usually introduced by a minor fast known as the Fast of Esther, acknowledging the three-day fast that heralded the miraculous downfall of Haman.

The fast is normally commemorated from dawn to sundown immediately before Purim and in cases where it coincides with Sabbath observance, it is moved up to the Thursday before Purim is marked.