Purim – considered to be one of the most entertaining Jewish holidays – holds relevance in today’s world as well. The story of Purim especially talks about the courage showed by a woman called Esther, who saved the people of Persia from extermination.
In 2021, the celebrations for Purim will begin on the evening of 25th February and end the next evening. Purim can be described as the days of feasting and spreading happiness around. On this day, Jews exchange presents and enjoy a grand feast together. They also drink a special drink known as mishloachmanot.
Jews also donate to charity, which is known as mattanot la-evyonim. The meal that they enjoy together is known as se’udat Purim. In addition, the family also spends a significant time praying and offering grace after meals – called Al HaNissim. There are several other customs and traditions that are observed on a celebratory day, like wearing costumes, going to parades, and drinking wine or other alcoholic beverages.
Purim is celebrated every year on the 14th of the Hebrew month of Adar which marks the day after the victory of Jews over their enemies.
So what exactly is the message of this wonderful event? Basically, the festival of Purim and its background story can be interpreted in several ways – it all comes down to personal subjections.
But the most popular and widely accepted interpretation of the story is this: God always protects right from wrong, and He is there even when you fail to see His presence. And lastly, God always plans ahead and He knows what’s good for His people.
One of the most important traditions of Purim is that Jews have to hold carnivals and parades on the day. Hence, you should prepare for plays and parodies and even beauty contests. Funnily enough, Purim is known as the Jewish Mardi Gras by Americans.
Celebrations on Purim should, however, not interfere with work obligations. Some sources suggest the opposite – Jews shouldn’t carry on with their day like they normally do and take a leave from work to spend quality time with family and friends.
As you can tell, it is essential that people dress up on the carnival day. Children are especially excited about the day as they dress up as characters that are present in the Book of Esther – like King Xerxes, Vashti, Queen Esther, Mordecai and Haman.
The tradition of masquerading actually started at the end of the 15th century by Italian Jews and they were heavily influenced by the Roman carnival that was quite famous in Europe at the time. This practice was initially only observed in Europe but soon, Middle Eastern countries also caught up with it.
Why do you think Jews dress up and masquerade themselves? Well, the tradition is observed to emulate God who makes his presence felt while staying in a disguised form. The idea is to show that God is behind every natural event and He knows what’s best for us. Thereby, we should not feel demotivated and keep our faith alive in the face of tribulations.
Like we said before, charity is an important ritual of Purim. A lot of people follow this tradition by making anonymous donations so that the dignity of the recipient remains intact. The reason these people keep their identity hidden is to highlight the aspect of miracles of the festival.
King Achashverosh, Queen Vashti, Esther, Haman, and Mordecai are some of the most popular festive traditional Purim costume ideas – the leading characters of the story. The costumes made for the King and Queen of the story are a lot like the ones that you wear on Halloween. For example, boys get to wear crowns and capes, whereas girls boast colorful robes and tiaras that complete their look.
For Esther, people go for the color purple and when it comes to Haman, they dress in a Shepherd-like costume. For Vashti, the costumes are toga-like that remind you of Cleopatra. Basically, all traditional Jewish outfits include colorful robes that have the star of David incorporated.
Costumes of Purim are not available at regular stores because they are a specialized niche. However, you can still buy them from online stores like Annie’s Costumes, Costume Craze, Etsy, and Amazon! Also, the costumes will only look complete if you also buy the accessories, so make sure you leave a budget for them. Graggers – the noisemakers – is an important accessory so just be aware of that!
Look, making your own costumes can be a tedious job but it can also be exciting and fun. The idea is to look confident and comfortable when you wear them. Hence, make sure that you leave room for creativity so that the day becomes memorable for you.
What we can tell you is that making your own costume is considerably easy. You don’t have to go overboard and spend a lot of cash on buying the right clothes and decorative accessories. In fact, costume-making doesn’t even demand sewing experience!
You know what you should do? Raid your grandmother’s closet and pick out some vintage pieces of clothes! Select some sophisticated but retro hobo look for yourself – and just kill it on that day!
Normally, Purim costumes are one and the same – robes and togas. So, you can make yours by using an old sheet. Get yourself a crown and use an old cape to recreate a new look.
If you already have an old tiara stored somewhere in the house, you’re good to go. But if not, then you must get one because the look of Esther is incomplete without it. You can DIY it as well; check out this YouTube tutorial!
As we mentioned before, Gragger is really important. You can create your own by filling a cardboard paper towel tube with beans and hide the ends with a waxed paper. Simply decorate and shake it well.
Just remember that Purim is a day when you get together with your loved ones and celebrate it to the fullest. Costumes and accessories are mere additions to spark up your day and make it more festive. Always remember that the celebrations should be done without disturbing the religious sentiments.
And hey – if you can’t find the best online costume, we’ve given some DIY Purim costumes ideas below!
There is nothing easier than this costume! Simply find a yellow shirt in your wardrobe and put on black stripes on it. You may also go for a black striped dress over it. Now give it yellow tulle, just to add an illusion of wings, pair it up with a headband and antenna and you’re all done.
Look, this is every mother’s go-to look for their kids when they’re infants. So, pull up a bright orange shirt and make a faux cap add a black sleeper just to complete the final jack-o-lantern effect.
Zombies never go out of style – bring on a ripped outfit and splash a little bit of faux blood on it. Put on face powder like it’s for free and paint your lips blood red to complete the look. And hey! Don’t forget to lumber around.
If you’re a lonely broken angel, this is going to be the look for you this Purim. Find yourself a white sheet or dress from the closet and add a pair of wings at the back. You can even do it yourself at home by cutting out a poster and decorating it with love.
When there are angels, devils are not far behind. Pick out this evil costume for the day by donning a pair of horns. Pick out the jet red dress from your closet and do a brilliant vampy makeup. You can take help from this YouTube tutorial!
This is what we suggest. If you’re a family of three siblings, one should go for the angel, one for the devil, and the last one can be a simple man or a woman.
Okay we get that some cultures have negative associations with black cats, but that’s not what Purim is for. On this day, nobody is evil and God is everywhere. Hence, design this costume by wearing a black bodysuit. Add some fur or you can go for a sexy belt as well. You may also wear a headband and paint your face to indicate whiskers and a boop-able nose. Oh, and don’t forget the tail!
Fairies are a great choice for your little girls! You can create a costume at home using clothes from the closet. Just pick
out a party dress and add a flower wreath and some wings at the back. If feasible, you may directly purchase an outfit from an online store!
Do let us know which costume idea you liked the most!
Also, like our page on Facebook for more information about Purim, the great Jewish festival costumes people wear in Israel including warrior, viking girl, shield maiden!
What do you have to say about this joyful and festive Jewish holiday? Also, stay tuned to Hayvine to know more about traditional purim costumes, couple purim costumes, easy costume ideas for toddlers and adults.