Purim in United Kingdom

Quick Facts

Purim commemorates a time when Jewish people were saved from death around the fourth century BCE, according to the Book of Esther.

Name

Purim

Purim 2014

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Purim 2015

Thursday, March 5, 2015
Note: Jewish holidays begin at sundown the day before the date specified for the holiday.
List of dates for other years

Many Jewish people in the United Kingdom mark Purim as the date to remember the Jewish people’s deliverance from a royal death decree around the fourth century BCE, as told in the Book of Esther. Esther was a queen who helped stop the villain Haman’s plans to kill Jewish people.

Purim is usually celebrated on the 14th day of the month of Adar in the Jewish calendar, which is in February or March in the Gregorian calendar. According to many sources, the celebrations begin at around sunset on the 13th day of Adar, while other sources mention that Purim is observed on the 15th day of Adar.

Purim Gragger

Graggers are popular noisemakers used during Purim.

©iStockphoto.com/Moti Meiri

What do people do?

Many Jewish people in the United Kingdom listen to the Megilla (or Megillah) during Purim. Graggers, which are Purim noisemakers, are used to drown out the name of the villain Haman when the story of Esther is read, particularly to children, at synagogues. 

Synagogues are often crowded during Purim. Many people wear their best clothes while others dress up in colorful costumes and masks. Children in particular enjoy dressing up as the characters found in the Book of Esther. Purim gift baskets are exchanged on this occasion. Many Jewish people also donate to charity around this time of the year.

Public life

Purim is not a public holiday in the United Kingdom. It is not subject to business or work restrictions, unlike some other Jewish holidays. However, some sources say that Jewish people still need to respect Purim when it concerns their business activities.

Background

Jewish settlement in England can be traced as far back as the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066. The Jewish community outnumbered the Spanish and Portuguese communities in England by the 18th century. They built large synagogues and their wealth and status was varied. Some prosperous families commissioned coats-of-arms and used them on their possessions.

Many Jewish families in Eastern Europe moved to England to escape persecution and hardship between 1881 and 1914. About 150,000 Jewish people settled in England, with large numbers staying at London's East End during that time. England continued to receive Jewish immigrants escaping persecution around the time of World War II (1939-1945).

Jewish people comprise a rich cultural mix in the United Kingdom today, where festivals such as Purim are celebrated. Purim commemorates the time when the Jewish people living in Persia were saved from extermination by the courage of a Jewish woman called Esther.

About Purim in other countries

Read more about Purim.

Purim Observances

Note: Jewish holidays begin at sundown the day before the date specified for the holiday.
WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday typeWhere it is observed
SunMar 111990PurimJewish holiday 
ThuFeb 281991PurimJewish holiday 
ThuMar 191992PurimJewish holiday 
SunMar 71993PurimJewish holiday 
FriFeb 251994PurimJewish holiday 
ThuMar 161995PurimJewish holiday 
TueMar 51996PurimJewish holiday 
SunMar 231997PurimJewish holiday 
ThuMar 121998PurimJewish holiday 
TueMar 21999PurimJewish holiday 
TueMar 212000PurimJewish holiday 
FriMar 92001PurimJewish holiday 
TueFeb 262002PurimJewish holiday 
TueMar 182003PurimJewish holiday 
SunMar 72004PurimJewish holiday 
FriMar 252005PurimJewish holiday 
TueMar 142006PurimJewish holiday 
SunMar 42007PurimJewish holiday 
FriMar 212008PurimJewish holiday 
TueMar 102009PurimJewish holiday 
SunFeb 282010PurimJewish holiday 
SunMar 202011PurimJewish holiday 
ThuMar 82012PurimJewish holiday 
SunFeb 242013PurimJewish holiday 
SunMar 162014PurimJewish holiday 
ThuMar 52015PurimJewish holiday 
ThuMar 242016PurimJewish holiday 
SunMar 122017PurimJewish holiday 
ThuMar 12018PurimJewish holiday 
ThuMar 212019PurimJewish holiday 
TueMar 102020PurimJewish holiday 

Other holidays in March 2014 in United Kingdom

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