Purim in United States

Quick Facts

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

Local names

NameLanguage
PurimEnglish
PurimSpanish
פוריםHebrew
عيد الفوArabic
퓨림Korean
PurimGerman

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

Purim marks the Jewish people’s deliverance from a royal death decree around the fourth century BCE, as told in the Book of Esther. Many Jewish Americans celebrate Purim 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.

Traditional purim basket

Gift baskets containing food are given during Purim.

©iStockphoto.com/sterling_photo

What do people do?

Many Jewish people, especially children, in the United States use this event as an opportunity to listen to the Megilla (or Megillah) to relive the events that are told about the story of Esther, Mordecai and Haman. It is customary to twirl graggers (Purim noisemakers) and stamp one's feet when Haman’s name is mentioned.  

Many Jewish people give to the needy around this time of the year. Food baskets or food gifts are also given away. It is a time for people to celebrate and be merry. So some Jewish schools hold celebrations to remember the past and their heritage. Other groups or organizations hold Purim carnivals filled with activities, costumes, food and games.  Special prayers, particularly the Al HaNissim prayer are also included in evening, morning and afternoon prayers.

Public life

Purim is not a public holiday in the United States. It is a relatively minor festival and some activities that are not allowed on many Jewish holidays may be permitted on Purim.

Background and symbols

Purim has been celebrated in the United States for many years. Old newspaper articles dating as far back as 1860 have reported about Purim festivals, where wealthy Jewish families would donate to charity.  It has been written in other newspapers, particularly from the early 20th century, that Purim was a day of cheerfulness and festivity among many Jewish communities in the United States. 

One of the Purim symbols often seen on the day is the gragger (wooden noisemaker). Graggers are often made of wood and consist of a handle fixed to a cogged wheel.

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 States

Advertising

Other calendars

Related links