On March 14th, the Jewish people of Israel will join in the feasting and fun on the most lighthearted holiday on their calendar. The joyous Purim celebration commemorates the rescue of the enslaved Persian Jews from the villainous Haman by Queen Esther. For kids, it is traditionally a holiday akin to Halloween as they dress up in costumes and parade in the streets. Carnivals, parties, masked balls, practical jokes and gifts of food are the order of the day. The feast includes ample amounts of meat and alcoholic beverages as it is considered a good deed or "mitzvah" to eat a hearty meal in honor of the deliverance. The quintessential Purim treat is hamantaschen, a three-cornered cookie filled with sweetened poppy seeds or fruit jams made from prunes or apricots. The treats are variously symbolic of Hamman's ears, hat or pocket, all representing the humiliation of defeat. Another treat is kreplach, triangular shaped savory pastries stuffed with seasoned meat or cheese and boiled like ravioli. Purim challah, a sweet bread with raisins, and fish cooked for the holiday in vinegar, raisins and spices are often served as well. Click here for recipes or to find out about Purim customs around the world click here
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