What is Purim? The joyous holiday of Purim celebrates the salvation of God's people from a wicked man named Haman, through the leadership of Queen Esther and her cousin Mordecai.
The carnival-like atmosphere of Purim, wearing of costumes, and bringing gifts of food door-to-door sometimes leads to it being referred to as the "Jewish Mardi Gras" by non-Jews.
The Book of Esther
The story of Purim is found in the Biblical book of Esther, often referred to as "the Megillah." This is publicly read in synagogues twice on Purim: when the holiday begins at nightfall, and the following morning. When the name of Haman is read, people stomp their feet, hiss, boo, or shake noisemakers to obliterate his name.
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