Holiday Gifts

Purim Traditions Explained

Purim is coming!

We’ve got your ultimate primer on how to celebrate this joyful Jewish holiday, with all the traditions you need to know about and what they mean!

The festive Jewish holiday of Purim will begin on Saturday night, March 23, 2024 – or Sunday night, March 24 if you live in Jerusalem – and last through the following day as one of the biggest parties in the Jewish calendar. Below are its key traditions, and don’t forget to check out our full selection of Purim gifts so you can be ready for the holiday!

1. Costumes

Why do we wear costumes on Purim? Dressing up is considered fun and merry, a perfect way to celebrate an exceptionally joyous festival. Another reason given by Jewish tradition is that we remember that the Purim miracle – which is described in the Book of Esther and which you can read a summary of here – was done in disguise, so we too are in disguise. Not only did Queen Esther hide her Jewishness, it’s also noteworthy that there is no mention of God’s name in the entire story despite God’s role in the miracle, hence we celebrate God’s disguised role.

Another possible reason is that when King Achashverosh honors Mordechai for saving his life in the Purim story, he orders that Mordechai is paraded around town wearing the king’s clothing. It’s truly a topsy-turvy day where we are meant to dress up as something we are not!



Celebrate the Purim tradition of dressing up with our festive Purim t-shirts & hoodies!

2. Megillat Esther

Megillat Esther – or Scroll of Esther, sometimes also called Book of Esther – is a special scroll on which the Purim story is written.

We listen to the story, which is sung to its own special melody, twice through the holiday: once at night, and again in the morning. The story recounts how Esther, a Jewish girl from Persia, marries King Achashverosh and learns of the evil plot to kill the Jews made by Haman, the king’s advisor. With the help of her uncle Mordechai, Esther manages to save the Jewish people – the miracle we celebrate today.

There are unique customs associated with reading this scroll, usually done in synagogue or other public settings: we use noisemakers to drown out the sound of the villain’s name; there are sections for which use tunes borrowed from other Biblical stories; and the whole congregation sings certain parts out loud along with the reader.

Get your own beautifully written Megillat Esther scroll, or follow along in a convenient printed book with English translations!

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3. Groggers/ Noisemakers

A noisemaker, or grogger as it is called in Yiddish, is used during the reading of Megillat Esther, and is a way to help participants follow along. The grogger is traditionally a ratchet instrument made from wood, but can be a variety of things such as a tambourine or a bottle filled with beans, as long as it makes noise.

So, when do we use it? During the reading of the Purim story, one is supposed to drown out the name of the evil Haman who plotted to kill the Jews by making as much noise as they possibly can.

A fun and quirky Purim tradition, drowning out Haman’s name with groggers and tambourines makes the Megillah reading an interactive and enjoyable experience for the whole family!

Make the story of Purim come alive for your kids with festive noisemakers from Israel!

4. Mishloach Manot & Gifts
jewish presents in blue paper bags decorated with Star of David

Mishloach Manot as they’re known in Hebrew, or Shaloch Manos in Yiddish, are festive food gift baskets or gift bags that are delivered to family, friends, neighbors, and poor members of one's community during Purim.

The tradition comes from the story of Purim itself – after the Jews’ victory over Haman, they rejoiced by sending each other portions of food as well as giving gifts to the poor.

The Talmud specifies that everyone should give at least two different ready-to-eat foods to at least one friend – but many people send packed gift baskets to as many friends and neighbors as they can.

Some Purim gift baskets get quite elaborate, sometimes including wine and fancy artisanal foods, although chocolate and other sweets are among the most popular items to give.

Some people also have a tradition of including toys or other small gifts in Mishloach Manot baskets given to kids.



Wow your family and friends with the most festive and yummy Israeli-made gift baskets, and don’t forget a little extra something for the kids with our best Purim children’s gifts!

5. Hamantaschen

Hamantaschen are traditional Purim delicacies that are a favorite among many Jewish families, and often given out as part of Mishloach Manot. They’re a type of folded, triangle-shaped cookie originally hailing from Europe and traditionally filled with jellychocolate, or a poppy seed paste.

The origin of hamantaschen is not entirely clear, though legend says that the triangle shape is meant to emulate Haman’s hat. On the other hand the cookies’ Hebrew name, Oznei Haman or literally Haman’s ears, suggests they may be referring to his ears instead. It’s also possible that they were simply a European style of pastry that Jews happened to have enthusiastically adopted, and the holiday meaning was given after the fact.

No matter their origin, they’re certainly a delicious way to celebrate!



Make your own hamantaschen with a delicious Israeli spread or filling, or order ready-made, authentic hamantaschen from Israel!

6. Festive Meal

Most Jewish holidays involve festive meals with friends and family, but Purim is one of the occasions on which we are actually commanded to rejoice and have a special feast. There is even a tradition to drink until you can’t tell the difference between good and bad!

Whether you’re going all out or indulging in moderation, make sure to celebrate with your loved ones, and take your holiday table to the next level with some delicious Israeli food and wine as well as festive Jewish tableware.

No Jewish feast is complete without delicious kosher treats from Israel – order your favorites now!

7. Giving to Charity

Even with all the revelry, we are commanded to still remember the less fortunate on Purim. Many people give to charity, whether directly to needy individuals or to their favorite organizations, or send food to poor members of their communities. It’s also common to organize community donation drives around this time, visit the ill and the elderly, and spread general holiday cheer through acts of kindness.

It’s important to ensure that everyone can eat and enjoy the holiday, and it’s also a great opportunity to teach the Jewish value of tzedakah, or charity, to your children.

Consider getting your child their own beautiful tzedakah box to get them excited about saving their small change to donate to charity!



Now that you know all about Purim traditions, it’s time to plan your celebrations!

See our Purim essentials buying guide and top Purim gifts, or browse our entire Purim selection from Israel!



Why Do We Eat Matzah on Passover?
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