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Jewish Festivals

    Purim is one of the happiest of all the festivals. This festival is held to honor how the Jewish people living in Persia were saved from destruction.

    The story goes that a wicked man named Haman wanted to kill the Jews because he thought that a man named Mordecai had not shown in proper respect.

    Haman was minister to the king and was very important. A day was set for the massacre to take place but the kings' wife Esther who was the foster daughter of Mordecai foiled it, she had gotten Haman drunk. The Jews were able to defeat Haman and his allies due to him being to drunk to fight.

    The story was to be repeated every year and the part Esther played in the victory is told in the synagogue and at a celebration meal held in all Jewish homes today.

    At the festival foods that are served are turkeys as the main meal due to it being considered a dumb animal like the foolish king of Persia.

    Purim is the last festival before Passover. It is a useful time to bake cake and biscuits.

    At Purim money is given to the poor, and gifts of baked foods and fruit are exchanged. People also eat two types of foods at Purim these are Hamantaschen which are a small triangle-shaped pastry representing Hamans ears or pockets, also Purim Challah which is a large braided loaf sprinkled with tiny specks of different colored sugar icing or poppy seeds. Esther did not eat rich food and ate only fruit and vegetables, so she ate a dish of Chick Peas.

    Purim is known as The Feast of Lots and the story of the queen Esther can be found in the Book of Esther in the Bible.

    Purim is a time for parties, costumes and the exchange of gifts, especially lollies. The only time that is a formality is the reading of the Scroll of Esther at the homes or in the synagogue.

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