At its core, Purim is a holiday that celebrates the bravery and courage of the Jewish people and their faith in God’s protection. The story of Esther is a testament to these themes, as Esther and Mordechai risked their lives to save their people and trusted in God’s plan even in the face of great danger.
One of the key themes of Purim is bravery. Esther demonstrated great courage by revealing her Jewish identity to the king, knowing that doing so could result in her death. Mordechai, too, showed bravery by refusing to bow down to Haman and standing up for his beliefs, even when it put him in danger.
Another important theme of Purim is faith. Esther and Mordechai’s actions were driven by their belief in God’s protection and their conviction that they were chosen to carry out a divine mission. This faith gave them the strength and courage to face their enemies and overcome seemingly insurmountable odds.
Finally, Purim is also a holiday that celebrates the triumph of good over evil. Haman, the villain of the story, represents the forces of darkness and hatred that threaten to destroy the Jewish people. Esther and Mordechai, on the other hand, represent the power of righteousness and justice to overcome evil.
These themes of bravery, courage, faith, and triumph over evil are central to the story of Esther and remain just as relevant today as they did thousands of years ago. In the following sections, we will explore the character of Queen Esther in more detail and discuss the lessons we can learn from her actions.
Celebrating Purim: Traditions and Customs
Purim is a holiday that is celebrated with a variety of traditions and customs that have evolved over time. The following are some of the most common practices associated with the holiday:
- Reading the Book of Esther: The central observance of Purim is the reading of the Book of Esther, also known as the Megillah. The Megillah is read twice during the holiday, once in the evening and again the following morning. As the story is read, listeners are encouraged to make noise whenever the name of Haman is mentioned, using noisemakers known as groggers.
- Costumes: Purim is a holiday that is often celebrated with costumes and dressing up. Children and adults alike often dress up as characters from the Purim story or in other costumes of their choice.
- Giving Gifts: It is traditional to give gifts of food or other items to friends and family during Purim. These gifts, known as mishloach manot, often include sweet treats and other festive foods.
- Charity: Another important tradition of Purim is giving to charity. It is customary to give money to those in need, particularly to support the poor and needy members of the Jewish community.
- Feasting and Drinking: Purim is also a holiday that is celebrated with feasting and drinking. Traditional Purim foods include hamentashen, triangular-shaped cookies filled with sweet fillings like fruit or chocolate. It is also customary to drink alcohol, with some sources suggesting that one should drink until they can no longer distinguish between the names of Haman and Mordechai.
These traditions and customs have evolved over time and may vary depending on the community or family. However, they all serve to celebrate the joy and triumph of Purim and the importance of standing up for one’s beliefs, even in the face of danger.
Teaching Resources on Purim Holiday and Esther
My Bilingual Life has created some resources that teach about Purim and the story of Esther that would be appropriate to use in your classroom. There are some reading and listening comprehension activities in both English and Spanish. There are links to videos in both English and Spanish.
Listening Comprehension Activities on Purim
Listening Comprehension Activities on the Story of Esther