First and foremost, Purim is the national dress-up holiday in Israel. You will notice that Purim is on its way by seeing offices, schools, and well, the entire city roaming with adults in costumes. Purim is a holiday loved and embraced by the whole country, including those without any kind of religious inclination, as its main agenda is to dress up, wine, dine and rejoice!
Every year on Purim, the city of Tel Aviv hosts a free street party at Kikar Hamedina, inviting thousands of partiers to celebrate the holiday of Purim together and display this year’s most creative costumes. This year, the party will take place during the day on Friday, March 2nd in and around the Kikar Hamedina area and is said to be the best one yet, so you better not miss it.
Another wonderful Purim tradition includes sending food and donating to the poor and the needy. This tradition is prescribed in the Book of Esther as ‘the sending of portions one man to another, and gifts to the poor’. The food parcels given during Purim are called Mishloach Manot (‘sending of portions’) and the custom has evolved into a major gift-giving event and a tradition children begin from a very young age, giving away parcels of candy to their friends during the holiday.
The traditional food eaten during Purim is a triangular stuffed pocket cookie, called hamantash, which translates to ‘Haman’s ears’, after Haman, the defeated villain in the story of Purim. The triangular shape of the cookies remain a mystery, but the name comes from an old practice of cutting off criminals’ ears before they were executed by hanging. These delicious biscuits can be found everywhere around Israel before Purim and are filled with either poppy seeds, jam, chocolate, dates or plenty of other interesting variations!