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Why People Celebrate Purim

Jul 21, 2008
This year to celebrate Purim, try sending out some free e-cards to friends and family. E-cards sure will brighten up someone's day.

According to the Book of Esther, the Persian king Ahasuerus was scorned by his wife, so he ordered all the most beautiful young ladies of the capital city Shushan to be brought to his court to pick a new bride from among them.

He selected a girl named Esther, whose uncle Mordechai had warned her not to identify herself as a Jew, to be his Queen. With Esther isolated from her family, Mordechai would spend time each day in front of the palace gate to hear word of his beloved niece.

As a result, he overheard two of the royal guards discussing a plot to murder the king and relayed it to the king through Esther, for which he was entered into the royal chronicles as the Jew who saved the king's life and was later amply rewarded. Meanwhile, the malevolent king's chief advisor, Haman was infuriated by Mordechai's refusal to bow down to him and determined to punish him and the Jewish people of Shushan.

Haman cast lots to set the date of the massacre but was so impatient to begin the executions that he ordered the gallows built immediately. When Mordechai and the Jewish community heard the proclamation, they implored Esther to reveal her religion to her husband and to make a plea on behalf of her people.

Esther agreed and asked the Jews of Shushan to fast and pray for her, after which she would risk her life to have an audience with the king. She asked him and Haman to dine with her the following evening, an invitation the king readily accepted.

At dinner, she disclosed not only that she was a Jew and her relation to Mordechai, but also Haman's plan for the destruction of the Jews in Shushan. The king forgave Esther, had Haman promptly arrested and executed on the very gallows he built for Mordechai and the Jews, and promoted Mordechai to chief advisor, Haman's former position.

Mordechai declared the 14th of Adar to be a joyous festival, a celebration of life, friends, food, and pleasure, since known as Purim.

Purim is the most boisterous holiday of the Jewish year, with the emphasis on how the destruction of the Jewish inhabitants of Shushan was evaded and the joys of life. Jews around the world go to synagogue dressed in costumes and use noisemakers, drums, and whistles when the name Haman is heard during the reading of the Book of Esther.

Little packages called shalach-manot are exchanged between friends, family members, and members of the community as a reminder of the sweetness of life. They contain candy, fruit, and the symbolic triangular pastries filled with poppy, apricot, plums and other fruit
called hamantaschen, Yiddish for Haman's ears.

General merriment ensues after the reading of the Book of Esther is completed, and dancing and eating in large festive groups is traditional in celebration of the virtuous Mordechai's triumph over the wicked Haman.

According to tradition, adults drink wine until they can no longer distinguish between Mordechai and Haman. Of course this custom is taken purely in fun and is not invariably followed. If you celebrate Purim, invite someone unfamiliar with the festival to teach them about Jewish culture and the fascinating history of this particular celebration.

It is a great occasion to impart some Jewish trivia and culture on anyone that is interested, especially children, who will appreciate any chance to get dressed up and eat delicious treats.

Millions of free e-cards are sent each year. Free e-cards come in all sorts of categories, so send one yourself this year to celebrate Purim.
About the Author
Andrew Gibson is MD of Greeting-Cards.com. It has thousands of free ecards to choose from for birthdays and all occasions. Many people now send Free e-cards to celebrate Purim and select them from http://www.Greeting-Cards.com
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