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Purim * - Jewish (begins sundown on the 11th)

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Time: 
Thu, 01/03/2018 (All day)
Location: 
EVERYWHERE.

1st March

Purim * - Jewish (begins sundown on the previous eve.) .

Jewish celebration of the deliverance of the Jewish minority in Persia from genocide. Charity to the poor, sharing food with friends, and vigorous merrymaking mark the observance.

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Jewish celebration of the deliverance of the Jewish minority in Persia from genocide.  Charity to the poor, sharing food with friends, and vigorous merrymaking mark the observance. 

Like Hanukkah, Purim has more of a national than a religious character, and its status as a holiday is on a lesser level than those days ordained holy by the Torah.  Accordingly, business transactions and even manual labor are allowed on Purim.  A special prayer ("Al ha-Nissim"—"For the Miracles") is inserted into the Amidah prayers during evening, morning and afternoon prayer services, and is also included in the Birkat Hamazon ("Grace after Meals.") 

The four main mitzvot (obligations) of the day are: 

1.      Listening to the public reading, usually in synagogue, of the Book of Esther in the evening and again in the following morning (k'riat megillah) 

2.      Sending food gifts to friends (mishloach manot) 

3.      Giving charity to the poor (matanot la'evyonim) 

4.      Eating a festive meal (se`udat mitzvah) 

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Purim (/ˈpʊərɪm/; Hebrew: About this sound פּוּרִים (help•info) Pûrîm "lots", from the word פור pur, related to Akkadian: pūru) is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the saving of the Jewish people from Haman, who was planning to kill all the Jews.  This took place in the ancient Persian Empire.  The story is recorded in the Biblical Book of Esther (Megillat Ester מגילת אסתר in Hebrew). 

According to the Book of Esther, Haman, royal vizier to King Ahasuerus (presumed to be Xerxes I of Persia), planned to kill all the Jews in the empire, but his plans were foiled by Mordecai and his cousin and adopted daughter Esther, who had risen to become Queen of Persia.  The day of deliverance became a day of feasting and rejoicing.  

Based on the conclusions of the Scroll of Esther (Esther 9:22): "[...] that they should make them days of feasting and gladness, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor." Purim is therefore celebrated among Jews by: 

Exchanging reciprocal gifts of food and drink known as mishloach manot 

Donating charity to the poor known as mattanot la-evyonim 

Eating a celebratory meal known as a se'udat Purim 

Public recitation ("reading of the megillah") of the Scroll of Esther, known as kriat ha-megillah, usually in synagogue 

Reciting additions, known as Al HaNissim, to the daily prayers and the grace after meals 

Other customs include drinking wine or any other alcoholic beverage, wearing of masks and costumes, and public celebration. 

Purim is celebrated annually according to the Hebrew calendar on the 14th day of the Hebrew month of Adar (and on Adar II in Hebrew leap years that take place every 2 to 3 years), the day following the victory of the Jews over their enemies.  In cities that were protected by a surrounding wall at the time of the Biblical Joshua, Purim is instead celebrated on the 15th of the month of Adar on what is known as Shushan Purim, since fighting in the walled city of Shushan continued through the 14th day of Adar.  Today, only Jerusalem and a few other cities celebrate Purim on the 15th of Adar. 

Shushan Purim is Jerusalem; however, Rabbi Yoel Elizur has written that residents of Bet El and Mevo Choron should observe only the 15th, like Jerusalem. 

Outside of Jerusalem, Hasidic Jews don their holiday clothing on Shushan Purim, and may attend a tish, and even give mishloach manot, however this is not a religious obligation, but merely a custom. 

Purim Meshulash  

Purim Meshulash, or the three-fold Purim, is a somewhat rare calendric occurrence that affects how Purim is observed in Jerusalem (and, in theory at least, in other cities that were surrounded by a wall in ancient times).  When Shushan Purim (Adar 15) falls on Sabbath, the holiday is celebrated over a period of three days.  The megilla reading and distribution of charity takes place on the Friday (Adar 14), which day is called Purim dePrazos.  The Al ha-Nissim prayer is only recited on Sabbath (Adar 15), which is Purim itself.  The Torah portion for Purim is read for maftir, while the haftarah is the same as read the previous Shabbat, Parshat Zachor.  On Sunday (Adar 16), called Purim Meshullash, mishloach manot are sent and the festive Purim meal is held.  The minimum interval between occurrences of Purim Meshulash is three years (1974 to 1977; 2005 to 2008).  The maximum interval is 20 years (1954 to 1974; will occur again 2025 to 2045).  Other possible intervals are four years (1977 to 1981; 2001 to 2005); seven years (1994 to 2001); and 13 years (1981 to 1994; 2008 to 2021). 

Other Purims 

Purim Katan 

During leap years on the Hebrew calendar, Purim is celebrated in the second month of Adar.  (The Karaites, however, celebrate it in the first month of Adar.) The 14th of the first Adar is then called Purim Katan ("Little Purim" in Hebrew) and the 15th is Shushan Purim Katan, for which there no set observances but have a minor holiday aspect to it.  The distinctions between the first and the second Purim in leap years are mentioned in the Mishnah.  Certain prayers like Tachanun, Keil Erech Apayim (when 15 Adar I is a Monday or Thursday) and Lam'nazteach (Psalm 20) are omitted during the service.  When 15th Adar I is on Shabbat, "Av Harachamim" is omitted.  When either 13th of 15th Adar I falls on Shabbat, "Tzidkas'cha" is omitted at Mincha.  Fasting is prohibited. 

Communal and personal Purims 

Historically, many Jewish communities around the world established local "Purims" to commemorate their deliverance from a particular antisemitic ruler or threat.  The best known is Purim Vinz, traditionally celebrated in Frankfurt am Main one week after the regular Purim.  Purim Vinz commemorates the Fettmilch uprising (1616–1620), in which one Vincenz Fettmilch attempted to exterminate the Jewish community.  According to some sources, the influential Rabbi Moses Sofer (the Chasam Sofer), who was born in Frankfurt, celebrated Purim Vintz every year, even when he served as a rabbi in Pressburg. 

Rabbi Yom-Tov Lipmann Heller (1579–1654) of Kraków, Poland, asked that his family henceforth celebrate a private Purim, marking the end of his many troubles, including having faced trumped-up charges.  Since Purim is preceded by a fast day, the rabbi also directed his descendants to have a (private) fast day, the 5th day of Tamuz, marking one of his imprisonments (1629), this one lasting for 40 days. 

In recent history 

Adolf Hitler banned and forbade the observance of Purim.  In a speech made on November 10, 1938, (the day after Kristallnacht), Julius Streicher surmised that just as "the Jew butchered 75,000 Persians" in one night, the same fate would have befallen the German people had the Jews succeeded in inciting a war against Germany; the "Jews would have instituted a new Purim festival in Germany." 

Nazi attacks against Jews often coincided with Jewish festivals.  On Purim 1942, ten Jews were hanged in Zduńska Wola to avenge the hanging of Haman's ten sons.  In a similar incident in 1943, the Nazis shot ten Jews from the Piotrków ghetto.  On Purim eve that same year, over 100 Jewish doctors and their families were shot by the Nazis in Częstochowa.  The following day, Jewish doctors were taken from Radom and shot nearby in Szydłowiec. 

In an apparent connection made by Hitler between his Nazi regime and the role of Haman, he stated in a speech made on January 30, 1944, that if the Nazis were defeated, the Jews could celebrate "a second Purim".  Indeed, Julius Streicher was heard to sarcastically remark "Purimfest 1946" as he ascended the scaffold after Nuremberg.  According to Rabbi Mordechai Neugroschel, there is a code in the Book of Esther which lies in the names of Haman's 10 sons.  Three of the Hebrew letters — a tav, a shin and a zayin — are written smaller than the rest, while a vav is written larger.  The outsized vav — which can also represent the number six — corresponds to the sixth millennium in the Zohar, the central books of Jewish mysticism.  As for the tav, shin and zayin, their numerical values add up to 707.  Put together, these letters refer to the Jewish year 5707, which corresponds to the secular 1946-1947.  In his research, Neugroschel noticed that ten Nazi defendants in the Nuremberg Trials were executed on October 16, 1946. 

There is a tale in the Hasidic Chabad movement that supposedly Joseph Stalin died as a result of some metaphysical intervention of the seventh Chabad leader, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, during the recitation of a discourse at a public Purim Farbrengen.  Stalin was suddenly paralysed on 1 March 1953, which corresponds to Purim 1953, and died 4 days later.  Due to Stalin's death, nation-wide pogroms against Jews throughout the Soviet Union were averted, as Stalin's infamous doctors' plot was halted. 

The Cave of the Patriarchs massacre took place during Purim of 1994. 

In the media 

The 1960 20th Century-Fox film Esther and the King stars Joan Collins as Esther and Richard Egan as Ahasuerus.  It was filmed in Italy by director Raoul Walsh.  A movie (2006, Rated PG) called One Night with the King chronicles the life of the young Jewish girl, Hadassah, who goes on to become the Biblical Esther, the Queen of Persia, and saves the Jewish nation from annihilation at the hands of its arch enemy while winning the heart of the fiercely handsome King Xerxes. 

The 2006 comedy film For Your Consideration employs a film-within-a-film device in which the fictitious film being produced is titled Home for Purim, and is about a Southern Jewish family's Purim celebration.  However, once the film receives Oscar buzz, studio executives feel it is "too Jewish" and force the film to be renamed Home for Thanksgiving.