Memories for Miriam, Alice, Theo, Delia, Tessa
and anyone else who would like to be here
Purim is a Jewish holiday, celebrating Queen Esther, who lived about 2500 years ago in a country named Persia. The ruins of the palace where Esther might have lived are shown in the picture.
Purim comes on a different date each year, and like all Jewish holidays, it begins in the evening. This year it is on Saturday evening, March 3 and Sunday March 4. On that date, Jewish families and groups will gather and read the story of Esther. Sometimes people read from very beautiful scrolls with hand-made writing and drawings, like the one in the picture at the top of this page.
Last year Miriam and Alice went to a Purim celebration while they were visiting Ann Arbor. They saw lots of children dressed up in costumes, and they played games at a carnival. They also heard the story of Queen Esther and her husband, King Ahasuarus, read by my friend Carol. At the beginning of the story, Esther and Ahasuarus are married and she moves from her uncle Mordechai's house into the palace. After she had been living in the palace for a while, Mordechai told Esther how a bad man named Haman was trying to harm all the Jews in Persia. These were Esther's former friends and relatives, and she wanted to help them. Esther asked King Ahasuarus to make Haman stop his bad deeds. The king agreed, and so she was able to save all her people.
At the Purim party last hear, every time we heard the name "Haman" in the story the children made a lot of noise with noisemakers. This is what everybody does while they are reading the story of Queen Esther every year.
Although Esther lived a long time ago, the tomb where she and her uncle might have been buried still exists. It is in the country of Iran, which is where ancient Persia was once located. It is in a city named Hamadan.
On Purim, people like to have costume parties and carnivals for children like the one Miriam and Alice went to last year. Some people bake cookies and share them with friends and neighbors. Hamantaschen are three-sided cookies filled with prunes, poppyseeds, or other filling. They are the favorite Purim cookie, and we had some at the party last year. In the picture are some that I baked a few years ago.
Added picture: Elaine S. and Mario baked these apricot and poppy-seed hamantaschen for Purim this year: