An Out of the Box Purim

children in a variety of costumes, including a lion, a pirate, a robot, and a clown.

Purim is a festive Jewish holiday that begins this year on the evening of February 25th. On Purim, we celebrate the bravery of Queen Esther, a Jewish woman from ancient Persia who was married to a king called Achashverosh. We remember the story of how she saved the Jewish people from an evil man named Haman by having the courage to tell the king about Haman’s plans to hurt the Jews and to stop him.

Purim is an especially fun holiday where we dress up in costumes, make lots of noise, eat festive foods, and share gifts with friends and family. Purim is also about turning our world upside down and embracing things that are different and unexpected. In the spirit of this, we looked back at some of our past family activities to see how we could remix them to celebrate the holiday and demonstrate important Jewish values as well.

Shake it Out!

roller skaters in 70s attire holding purim groggers

On Purim, we shake groggers, or noisemakers, during the reading of the Purim story when Haman, the villain of the story’s, name is said. Noisemakers are also fun all year round, and we enjoyed making and playing them for our Earth Day Extravaganza program last year. To celebrate Purim this year, why not think about mixing it up and making groggers out of recycled materials like we did for our Earth Day program.

You can use materials like a plastic water bottle, a dried juice box, or a plate made from recycled materials such as newspaper or cardboard and fill your container with pasta, beans, rice, or beads to make noise. Not only will you celebrate the Purim story, but you will also help the planet and demonstrate the Jewish value of bal tashchit, which encourages us not to waste and instead reuse and recycle materials. 

Gift Giving (shalach manot)

basket with hamentaschen (purim cookies), drink bottle, masks and groggers.

Often people make and send gifts to friends and family for Purim. This is because one of the main mitzvot, or commandments, of the holiday is sending gifts, or mishloach manot which is Hebrew for Purim gift baskets.

While it is always nice to make people happy and send gifts they will enjoy, this commandment also reminds us to also give to those in need, which is especially important right now. This year for Purim, why not revisit some of the activities from our “Becoming an Upstander” packet like making a card for seniors or creating bookmarks to donate along with books to local schools.

You can also help your community by creating a tzedakah box, like the one we featured in our Earth Day packet, and collecting money for an organization that helps those in need. You can create all these projects using found and recycled materials, so you are not only helping others, but you’re also helping the planet!

Keep Discovering: If you are interested in learning more about Purim, check out some of these resources below!

Learn more about the Purim story here.

Get ideas for easy to make Purim costumes here. After you’ve made your costume, why not have a costume parade around your home?

Follow along with the video below of a reading of Cakes & Miracles: A Purim Tale, a story about using creativity and imagination to make beautiful cookies while helping those in need!

hamentaschen cookies
Test your Purim knowledge, by taking this fun quiz here!

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