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Purim Street Party in Tel Aviv | © StateofIsrael/Flickr 
Purim Street Party in Tel Aviv | © StateofIsrael/Flickr 

How to Celebrate Purim in Israel

Picture of Lior Kantor
Updated: 14 February 2018

The ultimate holiday in Israel, Purim is a celebration of costumes, alcohol, food and joy – not bad eh? The holiday, which celebrates a biblical story describing the triumph of Jews over the villain, Haman, who conspired to kill them, has long become a favourite Jewish holiday full of parties, parades, costumes and joy. Keep reading to find out what you must not miss during Purim in Israel this year.

Dress up!

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!

Partake in Tel Aviv’s street party

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.

Exchange gifts and donate to charity

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.

Eat hamantash (Haman’s ears)

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!

Join the Tel Aviv Purim Zombie Walk

A rather new tradition, the annual zombie parade, meaning living, breathing people dressed up as zombies, is destined to take place on March 3rd this year and walk – or stumble – through the streets of Tel Aviv. The 2018 Zombie Walk is expected to gather near the Dizengoff Center at around 21:30.


Last but by no means least, the primary tradition of Purim is to rejoice! Despite the importance of wearing costumes, drinking alcohol, exchanging gifts and celebrating publicly, the main purpose of Purim is to celebrate the saving of the Jewish people from Haman, who was planning to kill all the Jews, as described in the biblical Book of Esther.