How to Celebrate Purim as a Christian
Purim is such a joyous celebration. One to share with every generation and celebrate every single year. It’s a biblical holiday based on the fascinating book of Esther. This post has the story of Esther and why we celebrate Purim. Now, we’re ready to dive into how to celebrate Purim as a Christian.
But first, here’s a rundown of what Purim is.
Purim – A Story of Rescue
Purim is a Jewish holiday that takes place in February or March each year celebrating the rescue of God’s people from an evil plot to destroy them. A brief perusal of history shows it’s one of many such schemes. This one occurred about 2,500 years ago in the ancient Persian Empire.
The Persian King Ahasuerus had conquered much land and captured many people, including the Israelites. His wife offended him by refusing a request he’d made in front of a host of admirers and dignitaries, so he banished her and soon launched the search for a new queen.
Esther, an orphaned Jewish girl, found favor in his eyes. The king elevated her to royal status as his wife. She seemed to fulfill her role well, but put her life in danger when an evil man named Haman stirred with anger and hatred against her uncle Mordecai and the entire Jewish people.
(We’re just hitting the highlights here because, hopefully, you’ve read a broader review in this post. Also, I recommend reading the whole story! Even if you’ve read it a dozen times before.) Now, back to the drama.
In his pride and fury, Haman obtains permission to annihilate the Jews and casts lots (like throwing dice or flipping a coin) to designate the day the Persian people can destroy the Israelites. This lot is where the name “Purim” originates.
He is thwarted when Esther reveals the plot to her husband, King Ahasuerus. The king orders Haman’s execution and decrees the Jews can protect themselves. In great rejoicing, the people of Israel are saved.
What a great story to celebrate! We can celebrate today how God worked back then and how He continues to work today! Teaching our children and grandchildren how God works will help them recall this story when they are in a difficult situation. They can be the next Esther.
We’ve covered the why, now I’m thrilled to move onto the how. Here are 5 steps to make this a fun joyous celebration. LET’S PARTY!!!!!
Purim is simple to plan. I recommend marking it on your calendar now and set a reminder to start prepping a week ahead of time. What do you want to do during this week?
Read the story of Esther to familiarize yourself with the details in the story. (Even if you read it today or tomorrow, read it again. God has an amazing way of bringing out details and truths we miss when we reread His Word.)
Write out the story as a megillah (scroll of Esther) or print copies of the book of Esther for everyone to read together. (You can tape them together to make a scroll/megillah.)
Plan a party on the date. Purim falls on the 14th day of the Jewish Month of Adar. Because the Jewish day begins at sunset, technically Purim starts at sunset Thursday, February 25 this year, and lasts through sunset Friday, February 26. Pick either day or both! In the book of Esther, Mordecai decreed Purim include both days. So, the festivities can really last the 25th through the 27th (Thursday through Saturday in 2021).
Then Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, both near and far, obliging them to celebrate the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same month, annually, because on those days the Jews rid themselves of their enemies, and it was a month which was turned for them from grief into joy, and from mourning into a holiday; that they were to make them days of feasting and rejoicing, and sending portions of food to one another, and gifts to the poor. Esther 9:20-22
Invite friends. In the current climate, people have differing opinions and comfort levels of gathering in groups. Do what you’re called to do. Pray about it. Listen to the Lord’s leading. And follow through in faith.
Plan the food. Party food! Do a search for traditional Purim foods, but don’t feel stuck by the suggestions found online.
- Hamantaschen cookies are one the most popular. These “cookies” are open and have a variety of fillings.
- Challah is also common. This homemade braided bread tastes as scrumptious as it looks.
- Kreplach are tasty triangular pastries filled with meat.
- Beans are another common dish on the menu for Purim.
Consider a fast. Just as Esther sought the Lord through fasting and prayer, we benefit from seeking Him in like manner as we prepare for the celebration of Purim.
- Pray for God’s chosen people – the Jewish nation – around the world. Ask God to protect them from lies and evil plots for their destruction, which are still rampant today.
- Pray God opens the eyes of Jewish people to see Jesus (Yeshua) as His Christ (Messiah) and Savior of His people. That the scales would fall off their eyes as they did with Saul of the New Testament. That they would see God’s message contained in the prophecies of the Old Testament.
- Intercede for ministries like One for Israel, who are taking the Gospel to the Hebrew Nation, and Israel specifically.
- Pray for God’s people – followers of Jesus – to boldly proclaim the Gospel to the Jewish nation as well as every nation, tongue, and tribe across the world.
- Ask for ever-increasing understanding of God’s story as He divinely shared it throughout the Holy Scriptures.
- Pray that your heart is broken for what breaks His heart. For eyes to see and opportunities to stand against oppression, injustice, abandonment, and poverty.
- Praise God for His faithfulness, protection, salvation, and power displayed in the book of Esther. Praise Him for all the times He’s worked in your life, even when you couldn’t or didn’t see His hand.
- Thank God for how He’s working today in your life and around the world.
- Gather some fun noise makers. Think “New Year’s Eve” style and yes, even fireworks!
- Gather crowns, hats, and costumes. Get creative with things you have around the house.
- Children enjoy making items, especially if they involve royalty-wear.
- Find your favorite fun decorations. The theme is kings, princesses, queens, royalty, victory!
- Again, use what’s around the house (although, of course, a bit of shopping isn’t out of the question).
- Get the kids involved. Ask them for ideas. Provide arts and crafts materials so they can help in the preparations and decorations.
Make and Give Gifts to Friends and People in Need
- Plan this with your kids. Ask them who they want to give gifts to and bless.
- If you have trouble deciding who to bless, cast lots to decide. This is how Haman chose the day of the holocaust. Purim means lots. The casting of lots. It is also known as the feast of lots.
- Take back the curse Haman meant the day to be and turn it into blessings. Some ideas are: home-baked gifts of food (bread, cookies, pastries, dinner), soap and/or lotion, party favors, a book, such as Celebrating Jesus in the Biblical Feasts, nuts, and fresh fruit!
- Prepare and bless someone with the traditional mishloach manot. Most consider this a gift of two ready-to-eat food items, although some call for a gift of scripture (Words from the Torah) to help facilitate peace and harmony in a community. I say all of the above!
- If you can, designate someone who is poor and truly needy in your community to bless with a meal.
- Make sure the room is festive and the food is ready.
- Have the costumes laid out and ready to dress up in.
- Read aloud the story of Esther. Each time the name Esther is mentioned, say, “Ooo lala.”
- When you read the name Haman, say, “Boo, hiss.”
- When you read the name Mordecai, say, “Our God reigns.”
- Have fun with the story. Make sure the kids that can read are also doing a part of the story.
- Have the kids act out parts of the drama. Each year they can do this more and more from memory.
- Eat the wonderful meal of holiday food cooked for the occasion.
- Take the prepared gifts to neighbors and other designated people in the community.
- Praise God together.
Celebrating Purim Takeaways
Is there ever a time when we want our children to forget how God works? Is there ever a time when it’s not good to celebrate God at work? This is the time. This is the year. Let us celebrate the Feast of Purim!
There should be so much joy in this celebration that our children and grandchildren look forward to it all year long. The birth of our Savior is a tremendous occasion that’s anticipated with great excitement. Purim is also a tremendous occasion we can anticipate with great excitement. Teaching our children how God works and how He provides is a lesson to never forget.
Let us plan for a joyous celebration for the holiday of Purim, following the tradition of God’s people for thousands of years. The lesson of this party instills in our children how God worked in the life of Esther and His people and how He’s the same today and forever. When they’re in a situation that seems difficult, even impossible, they’ll remember to fast, and pray and seek the Lord. He will answer.
How valuable is this for our children and grandchildren? Priceless!
I believe every parent is raising the next Esther or Daniel, youth who learn at a young age how to call on God, fast, pray and leave the results to Him.
We can celebrate these truths every day, but can also delight in setting aside special times to remember and proclaim them. Purim is just such a time to do so!
Hamantaschen Purim Cookies with Blueberry Fig Filling
- 3 Eggs
- 1 Cup Organic Cane Sugar or healthy alternative - preferably not Stevia
- 3/4 Cup Softened Organic Butter
- 2 1/2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract not imitation
- 1/2 Cup Orange Juice or favorite juice
- 5 1/2 Cups Freshly Milled Flour for lighter cookies sift flour after milling
- 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
Blueberry Fig Filling
- 1 Cup Chopped Figs
- 2 Tablespoons Tapioca Starch
- 1 Cup Blueberries
- 2 Tablespoons Organic Cane Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Water
Blueberry Fig Filling
- Combine figs, blueberries, and sucanat in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce heat. Simmer for 20 minutes.
- Mash the cooked berries with the back of a fork.
- In a small mixing bowl, stir water and tapioca starch together. Add half of the tapioca starch to the hot berry mixture. Stir well until it’s the same thickness as a jam.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or have parchment paper ready.
- In a large bowl, cream butter and add the 3 beaten eggs.
- Add in organic sugar till lightly and fluffy. Stir in the vanilla and orange juice.
- Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder; stir into the wet ingredients to form a stiff dough. (If the dough is not stiff enough to roll out, stir in more flour.)
- On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to 1/4 inch in thickness. Cut into circles using a cookie cutter or the rim of a drinking glass.
- Place cookies 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets. Spoon about 2 teaspoons of preserves into the center of each one. Pinch the edges to form three corners.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly browned.
- Allow cookies to cool for 1 minute on the cookie sheet before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
- Add pomegranate juice for a red color.
- Add 2 tablespoons cocoa powder to the flour and use hazelnut filling for a delicious chocolate flavor
- Replace the filling with about 2 cups of your favorite preserves.