A fascinating Jewish holiday, Purim delicately falls in harmony with any calendar of multi-faith celebrations. To read and hear the Book of Esther (also known as Scroll of Esther) is of paramount significance to commemorate the Jews’ protection from massacre in Persia.
So, when is Purim?
As a general rule, the holiday takes place on the fourteenth day of Adar (the Jewish month). In principle, Adar is related to February or March, according to the Gregorian calendar. It is the twelfth month.
The Feast of Lots, however, as Purim is widely known, may also be celebrated on the fifteenth day of Adar, as some Jewish communities prefer. The reasoning is that the Jews’ deliverance might not have been completed on the 14th of Adar, but the next day.
It is the evening that immediately precedes the holiday when the Book of Esther reading is performed in the synagogue.
According to modern tradition, on the fourteenth of Adar the celebration is launched with the first stars, and lit candles symbolize joy. Adar 14 is a thanksgiving moment, too, for the Jews’ survival from the monstrous Haman’s plot. He envisaged that day specifically as the right time for their extermination.
When is Purim for the Diaspora?
The Diaspora worldwide complies fully with the respective dates and time. An extra ceremony adds fundamental value to the tradition in Eastern Europe: the Scroll of Esther is chanted twice on the fourteenth of Adar. Another characteristic is the special Purims. They were created to celebrate a Jewish community’s survival during the centuries. For example, on the Seventh of Adar, a Purim was established in Kovno in 1783 to commemorate the protection of the Jewish community during the Russian–Polish war.
As a piece of valuable information: in a leap year, the holiday is celebrated in Adar II, as there are two Adar months. Adar II may correspond to March.