Purim in Israel – got your costume ready?

purim israelPurim is probably the most fun of all Jewish holidays, whether you’re in Israel or abroad. Everybody gets to have some fun, from the kids that get all dressed up and stuff their faces with cookies and chocolates, to the adults that are, er, forced to party in fancy dress and imbibe alcohol to celebrate…

If you’re looking for an awesome, budget-friendly Purim festival package that includes parties in Tel Aviv & Jerusalem AND accommodation, CLICK HERE!

If you have kids in Israel, Purim can be an expensive, busy, but fun few days. The fun starts a few days before Purim itself, when the kindergartens and schools begin getting the kids in the mood, with songs, stories and decorations. The expense kicks in when your kids need a costume, which will depend on the age of your kids and your power to resist (or your skills in creating a home-made costume); the mini-industry that springs up at this time of year means parents are bewildered by a range of glittering costumes and their accompanying accessories (swords, wands, hats, makeup etc). The old cowboy or pirate is still a winner, but superhero and princess costumes are all the rage these days. Spiderman seems to have won hands-down this year. My kids dressed up as a cute little elephant and a dinosaur/dragon/black prince – don’t ask.

And, for a change, Purim is quite possibly the most favored Jewish holiday by those dieting or looking after their figure. Yes, for a change, there is no real big family meal with plates of sumptuous food, though you might have to steer clear of the Mishloach Manot (food gift packages, usually full of chocolate bars and other sweets) and delicious Ozney Haman or Hamantashen (yes, Haman’s Ears! These are triangular cookies full of goodness, usually chocolate or poppy seeds).

The holiday itself is celebrated in February or March depending on the Hebrew calendar (this year, 2018, the action kicks off on February 28), and commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people from Haman, who plotted to exterminate them, as recorded in the Book of Esther (Megillat Esther). According to the story, Haman cast lots to determine the day upon which to kill the Jews. And like Hanukkah, Purim has less of a religious character. As a result, most businesses are open on Purim, though most kids will be off from school for 3 days.

Expect some great street parties, and don’t miss the annual Tel Aviv Zombie Walk if you like getting dressed up! In addition, don’t miss the Children’s Parade in Jerusalem (this year on March 1 9am-1pm), and the Adloyada Holon Purim Parade (March 1, 11am-3pm).

Here’s a slice of what to expect from the streets of Israel during Purim…

Happy Purim!

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Shalom!

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