Purim is a Jewish holiday celebrated on two dates - the 14th of the month of Adar, and, in walled cities like Jerusalem, on the 15th of Adar (also called Shushan Purim). The origin of the holiday is related in the Book of Esther, which tells of how Queen Esther and her uncle Mordechai saved the Jews of Persia from a massacre at the hands of Haman the Agagite.

Today, Purim is perhaps most identified with the tradition of wearing costumes, but the holiday has several commandments (mitzvot) as well, the main one being the reading of the Book of Esther. It is also customary to give gifts to the needy, deliver a mishloah manot ("gifts of food") to family and friends, as well as eat a festive meal.

Below, you can discover some fascinating acpects of the Purim holiday, such as the story of one of the world's oldest Esther scrolls, an "alternative Purim" celebrated in 17th-century Frnkfurt, the reason we eat Hamentaschen and the origin of the Purim noisemaker or grogger - the "Raashan" - to name a few...

    To receive our stories directly in your inbox