Customs and traditions of Purim


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What are the Customs and Traditions of Purim

By Uri Lampoon

When is Purim?

This year Purim falls on Wednesday night, the 11th of March and Thursday, by day, the 12th of March. In certain cities that have an ancient tradition of being enclosed with a wall, such as Jerusalem, Purim is celebrated on Thursday night, the 12th of March and Friday by day.

What are the basic things to do on Purim?

There are four basic thing to do on Purim and they begin with "M"
 Meaning Description
MegilahThe book of Esther The book of Esther is read twice, once in the evening and again in the morning.
Mishloah MaanotSending food to our friends We send two different potions of food to our friends
Matanot Le'evyonimGiving money to poor persons We give charity to needy people
MishtehHaving a good drinking party We have a festive meal during the day, replete with great wine!

Is it true that we are to get drunk on Purim?

Yup! Unless drinking is difficult for you.

How much are we to drink on Purim?

We are to drink until we do not know the difference between "Blessed is Mordachai" and "Cursed is Haman". Of course, if you don't know the difference then you should not begin to drink!

When is the Fast of Esther?

The day before Purim, on Wednesday, March 11th from sunrise to sunset.

Do I have to fast?

If you have difficulties fasting, you may break your fast.

Do people dress up in costumes on Purim?

Children have the custom to wear costumes and many drunken men seem to have taken hold of this custom also.

What exactly is the portions of food to be sent to my friends?

You can send anything that is edible with out preparation. There should be two different types of foods. As an example: a bottle of wine and cake, or a can of sardines and a bag of popcorn. The purpose is to spread the simcha (happiness). The minimum is two items to one friend, but many people try to send many food items to many of their friends.

What about giving charity?

Giving charity is considered a really big thing. How can we sit down to have a great time if some person is suffering because of financial straits? The minimum is to give two needy persons money. The more you give, the more praiseworthy you are. On Purim, we give to whom ever asks for money, hence the custom of Purim gelt (money) for children.

How is the meal to be conducted?

Invite over your family and friends. Prepare a scrumptious meal. Don't be embarrassed to ask your guest to bring over a salad or cake. Have plenty of wine on hand. Then call me up and invite me too!

May one drink other alcoholic beverages?

Yes, however, wine is the best, since the miracle of Purim came though drinking wine. Some people refer other drinks such as beer, vodka, whiskey and/or alka-seltzer.

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