The timing of this celebration is really sweet because I just finished a ‘She Reads Truth‘ study on Esther which is the origin of Purim. If you aren’t familiar with the story of Esther go check it out then come back!
Esther has always held a special position in my heart. Mom & I got to lead a session at a girls’ retreat that focused on the part of the story about the beauty treatments Esther was required. This was really sweet because 1. we love a good spa day & 2. we got to team up as the mother-daughter duo we love to be.
I think one of the reasons I’ve always been a fan of the book of Esther is because it’s always seemed like a fairytale. But the reality is “Prince Charming” is a flippant king who is way too into himself & his view of people is rather disposable. The queen-to-be grew up as an orphan & an evil man plots genocide against her race. So yeah…not a quite a “happily ever after” start if you ask me.
Purim is celebrated by Jewish people because it commemorates when the Jewish people were saved from the plan to destroy the entire race after Mordecai, Esther’s cousin, wouldn’t bow down to Haman, a royal official to the king. This festival is still celebrated today mostly in Israel with a carnival. Traditionally, the scroll of Esther is read & when Haman’s name is mentioned the crowd “boo’s” loudly & shakes noise makers to trumpet their disgust of the evil man. People also bake pastries called hamantashen (also referred to as Haman’s hats or pockets) & share them with friends as well as the poor. These pastries along with gifts are placed in baskets and given to friends & the poor so no one is left out of the festivities.
Turns out, Haman’s pockets are pretty tasty. 🤪 I’ll need to perfect my folding technique but I’ll give myself a passing grade on this first! I used the recipe from “What Do You Celebrate” – layers flaky in the middle with that good pastry crisp on the outside.
These carnivals also include costumes some relating to the Bible characters of Esther’s story. Esther & “Craft the Rainbow” were my inspiration for these costume pieces. A crown is a clear must & these paper earrings (who woulda thought?) were just too fun not to make too.
Paper straws = the perfect paper crown!
One of the beauties of scripture is that I can read & re-read the ancient words but every now & then, I gain something new from it & the teachings of others. In the past, “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14), has always stood out & still does. The Lord has a plan from the get-go. All that’s needed from us is obedience. Reading through this time with the ‘She Reads Truth’ community my eyes were opened to the true hero woven through the text. No, not Esther. His name is not spelled out in ink in the narrative but boy, is the Lord evident. And the story of the salvation of the Jewish people is the foreshadowing of the ultimate redemption story: yours & mine. Aren’t you glad there’s a happily ever after…after all?!
“That was the month when their sorrow was turned into rejoicing and their mourning into a holiday. They were to be days of feasting, rejoicing, and of sending gifts to one another and to the poor.”Esther 9:22
I super encourage you to listen to ‘She Reads Truth’ two podcast episodes on Esther because they sure helped me by bringing the story to new life.