When the sun goes down Saturday, a rare moon will appear that has conspiracy theorists and 2012 types talking, but it also marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday Purim. This festive day on the Hebrew Calendar will continue until the sun goes down Sunday.
Purim celebrates the story in the Biblical Book of Esther, which takes place in ancient Persia. In the story, a Jew named Mordechai refuses to bow to the evil royal adviser Haman. Infuriated, Haman convinces King Ahasuerus that all the Jews in Perisa should be killed. However, Mordechai has connections; his niece Esther is married to the king. After some persuasion from her uncle, Esther reveals to her husband that she is Jewish, and he decides not to kill the Jews.
This holiday is celebrated with carnivals, parades, costume wearing and alcohol drinking (for those 21 and over, of course). Also, the Book of Esther is read out loud, usually by a rabbi. When Haman’s name is mentioned, listeners make loud noises with a device called a gragger.
Also on Purim, lots of hamantaschen are consumed. These are triangle-shaped cookies containing fillings of fruit, poppy seeds, chocolate chips, nuts or whatever else the baker chooses. The shape of the cookies symbolizes the triangular hat worn by Haman.
The will hold a Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Impress your friends at the carnival by bringing and sharing your own homemade hamantaschen.
Here is a recipe from my grandfather Albert Friedman, straight out of Pembroke Pines, Fla.
- 2/3 cup butter or margarine
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1 cup white flour
- 1 cup wheat flour
- Fruit butters and/or pie fillings
Blend the butter and sugar thoroughly. Add the egg, and blend thoroughly. Add the orange juice, and blend thoroughly. Add flour, 1/2 cup at a time, alternating white and wheat and blending thoroughly.
Refrigerate batter overnight. On the next day, roll the batter as thin as you can without getting holes in it. Cut out three- or four-inch circles. Put a spoonful of filling in the middle of each circle. Fold up the sides to make a triangle, overlapping the sides as much as possible so only a little filling shows through the middle. Squeeze the corners firmly, so they don't come undone while baking.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown, but before the filling boils over.