I stumbled across this watermelon carving photo that was created for Purim. It was sent to me by one of my students several years ago. I’ve since lost the info about who created this cute clown carving. It got me wondering about the meaning of the annual Jewish holiday of Purim. So I looked it up. It turns out to be an inspiring story of intrigue and triumph.
Purim Watermelon Carving
Purim celebrates the foiled plot to kill all the Jews in ancient Persia some 2,500 years ago. The story of intrigue is told in the Biblical book of Esther.
Purim is celebrated that on the on the 14th day of the Hebrew month of Adar, which usually falls in March. Although it’s origins are much different that Mardi Gras, Purim has a few things in common with Mardi Gras. It is celebrated in late winter/ early spring. It is a joyful holiday where people dress up in costumes, and generous drinking of wine is encouraged.
Short Version of the Story that Started Purim
Esther, a Jewish woman of legendary beauty, who was raised by her cousin Mordecai, was taken to serve in the harem of the King of Persia. The king, elevated her to Queen, all the while not knowing that Esther was a Jew. It was a fact she kept secret.
One of the King’s top advisors, Haman, who hated Mordecai, conspired to convince the King that the Jews were not keeping the King’s laws and that they should not be tolerated. He was campaigning for mass genocide – to have all the Jews killed.
Mordecai told Esther to go to the King to convince him to stop the plot. Esther took a great risk in doing this because anyone who went to the king without being summoned by the King, risked being put to death. After preparing herself with 3 days of fasting, Esther went to the king. Fortunately, she was welcomed. And in the end, Esther influenced the king to put a halt to the deadly plot, saving the lives of the entire Jewish population of ancient Persia. Haman , the conspirator, was hanged.
Epic Movie about the story of Esther
Sounds like the epic story would make a great movie. Surely someone must have made a movie about it already. Right?
Sure enough, a quick search reveals that there is movie telling this story. It’s called “One Night With The King” It premiered in 2007 and was ninth on the list of highest-grossing motion pictures during the week it was released. John Rhys-Davies (Lord of the Rings) Omar Sharif, and Peter O’Toole are a few of the well known actors that star in this film. You can see the full movie on YouTube You can also find it on Amazon.com, and perhaps on other On Demand movie providers.
Ultra Conservative Jews Celebrating Purim in Israel
These photos were part of a photo essay in International Business Times magazine online. You can see more interesting photos of Ultra-Conservative Jews celebrating Purim in Israel on their website, on their website.
In a nutshell, Purim celebrates the triumph of life. And that is something the be joyfully celebrated.
L’Chaim! Cheers to Life.