For those not aware, Purim is a fun Jewish holiday celebrated each year in the early spring. This year (2014), the holiday is on Sunday, the 16th of March and will continue for 2 days until Monday, the 17th of March. Note that in the Jewish calendar, a holiday begins on the sunset of the previous day, so observing Jews will celebrate on the sunset of Saturday, the 15th of March.
What is Purim?
From Chabad.org: The festival is celebrated every year on the 14th of the Hebrew month of Adar (late winter/early spring). It commemorates the salvation of the Jewish people in ancient Persia from Haman’s plot “to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews, young and old, infants and women, in a single day.”
The story in a nutshell:
The Persian empire of the 4th century BCE extended over 127 lands, and all the Jews were its subjects. When KingAhasuerus had his wife, Queen Vashti, executed for failing to follow his orders, he orchestrated a beauty pageant to find a new queen. A Jewish girl, Esther, found favor in his eyes and became the new queen—though she refused to divulge the identity of her nationality.
Meanwhile, the anti-Semitic Haman was appointed prime minister of the empire.Mordechai, the leader of the Jews (and Esther’s cousin), defied the king’s orders and refused to bow to Haman. Haman was incensed, and convinced the king to issue a decree ordering the extermination of all the Jews on the 13th of Adar—a date chosen by a lottery Haman made.
Mordechai galvanized all the Jews, convincing them to repent, fast and pray toG‑d. Meanwhile, Esther asked the king and Haman to join her for a feast. At the feast, Esther revealed to the king her Jewish identity. Haman was hanged, Mordechai was appointed prime minister in his stead, and a new decree was issued—granting the Jews the right to defend themselves against their enemies.
On the 13th of Adar, the Jews mobilized and killed many of their enemies. On the 14th of Adar, they rested and celebrated.
If you want something to show little ones the story, here is a fun video from Shalom Sesame:
- One of the best things about Purim (at least in my opinion!) is making (and, of course, EATING) delicious Hamantaschen, which are triangular-shaped pastries. Over the years these treats have gone from simple shortbread, fruit filled treats, to exciting, fun, new recipes. To see some and learn how to make them, check out 32 Crazy Hamantaschen For Purim. Here is my favorite one that I may just have to try making myself – caramel apple (YUM):
- Vocabulary – Learn the Hebrew words and meanings of various words related to the holiday
- “A Shortbread Cookie Version of Purim”! – Readers Theater-Writing Prompts, Craft ($)
- Fun Printable Learning Activities – FREE!
- 130 Adorable Costumes
- TONS of great resources, including lesson plans, educational resources, articles, plays, & more!
- Lesson Plans, Worksheets and more from Lesson Planet
- Printable Masks (King Ahasuerus (aka King Xerxes), Queen Vashti, Haman, Mordecai, Queen Esther)
- Printable Finger Puppets
- Word Search from Joyful Jewish
- Coloring Page
- Celebration Coloring Page
- Printable Characters with several ideas on how to use them
- 25 Fun Activities from Our Jewish Homeschool Blog
- Make Lego Graggers (noisemakers). Noisemakers are used to block out Haman’s (the bad guy!) name when the story of the holiday is told. These are perfect for my Lego-obsessed son! Lots of other fun stuff on this site too.
- Make “I Spy” Graggers (noisemakers) – from Joyful Jewish
- Edible Groggers (They Actually Make Noise!)
- Tons of super fun activities from ChallahCrumbs.com
- Haman’s Shrinking Hat: A Purim Game! This is a fun movement game that could be played at school or at home or at a carnival!
- Huge collection of preschool activities for the holiday
- From Crayola – Put on a Play
- From Crayola – Make a Gagger
- Fun and Games from Torah Tots