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When Is Purim? How to Celebrate the Jewish Holiday in 2018

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Ultra-Orthodox Jews celebrating the holiday of Purim on March 13, 2017, in Jerusalem, Israel. The carnival-like Purim holiday is celebrated with parades and costume parties to commemorate the deliverance of the Jewish people from a plot to exterminate them in the ancient Persian empire 2,500 years ago, as described in the Book of Esther. Getty Images

Purim begins each year on the 14th day of the Hebrew month of Adar, which generally falls in late winter or early spring. In 2018, Purim is celebrated on February 28.

Purim is considered one of the most joyous and celebratory holidays in Judaism, as it marks the salvation of the Jewish people in ancient Persia around 2,500 years ago. 

According to legend, Haman, who was prime minister of Persia at the time, had a plot to kill all of the Jews, “young and old, infants and women,” in just one day. He convinced the King to issue a decree to have all Jews murdered on the 13th day of Adar.

652838304 Ultra Orthodox Jews celebrating holiday of Purim on March 13, 2017 in Jerusalem, Israel. The carnival-like Purim holiday is celebrated with parades and costume parties to commemorate the deliverance of the Jewish people from a plot to exterminate them in the ancient Persian empire 2,500 years ago, as described in the Book of Esther. Getty Images

But Haman did not know that Esther, the King’s wife, was Jewish. When Esther revealed her identity to her husband the King, he ordered Haman be hanged and Esther’s cousin Mordechai was named prime minister in his place. The Jews then spent the day killing their enemies before they finally rested on Purim, the 14th day of Adar.

Purim is a day to celebrate the bravery of Esther, who risked her own life by divulging her Jewish identity to the King. 

652838252 Ultra Orthodox Jews celebrating holiday of Purim on March 13, 2017 in Jerusalem, Israel. The carnival-like Purim holiday is celebrated with parades and costume parties to commemorate the deliverance of the Jewish people from a plot to exterminate them in the ancient Persian empire 2,500 years ago, as described in the Book of Esther. Getty Images

Many Jews celebrate the holiday by reading the Book of Esther. It is also typical to give donations to the poor or gifts of food to your friends. In Israel, families swap Purim baskets with cookies, cakes, bagels, fruit, nuts and wine.

652838270 Ultra Orthodox Jews celebrating holiday of Purim on March 13, 2017 in Jerusalem, Israel. Getty Images

Parades are sometimes held, and the holiday has been nicknamed the Jewish Mardi Gras. Jews are also encouraged to mark the day by making loud noises in their synagogues, stamping their feet, whistling and booing.  

It’s also not unusual for the festivities to include large quantities of food and wine. Purim is a day to let loose and celebrate the Jewish identity, and it is a day of feasts. Sometimes children get dressed up as Esther and Mordechai to mark the occasion, while adults also wear their finest clothes.

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