Purim is celebrated on the 14-15 of the Hebrew month of Adar. Like other Jewish holidays, Purim begins on the evening of Adar 13 and ends on the evening of Adar 14.
Shushan Purim: In Jerusalem which was surrounded by a wall at the time of Joshua, Purim is celebrated on the 15th of Adar. This is in remembrance of the continued clashes in the Persian capital city of Shushan.
Purim commemorates the annulment of the decree to kill all the Jews in the Persian empire. The story of Purim is told in the Book of Esther of the Tanach.
After the conquest of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple by the Babylonian army, the Jews were exiled to Babylon (modern-day Iraq) and Persia (see History of Jewish People)
During the reign of the Persian King Ahasuerus (Achashverosh, Greek name was Xerxes), one of the wazirs, named Haman, convinced the King to give a decree to annihilate all the Jews in his empire as they belong to a different religion.
Quotation from the Book of Esther:
And Haman said to King Ahasuerus, "There is a certain people scattered and separate among the peoples throughout all the provinces of your kingdom, and their laws (religion) differ from [those of] every people, and they do not keep the King's laws; it is [therefore] of no use for the King to let them be.
Queen Esther who was Jewish, heard about this decree from her uncle Mordechai. She invited the King and his wazir Haman to a banquet that she planned. At the feast, she revealed her Jewish identity and said that Haman has planned to kill all the Jewish people. Upon hearing this, King Ahasuerus ordered the hanging of Haman and subsequently all 10 of his children.
Haman was hanged on the same gallows that he had prepared to hang Mordechai, as he was snubbed by him.
- Public reading of the Book of Esther (מגילת אסתר)
- Exchanging food with neighbors and friends (משלוח מנות).
- Contributing to the needy (מתנות לאביונים ).
- Wearing costumes