Home   Calendar   Holidays   Australia   Purim
Flag for Australia

Purim in Australia

Many Jewish communities in Australia celebrate Purim to commemorate the Jewish people’s deliverance from death around the fourth century BCE, as told in the Book of Esther. It's 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.

Is Purim a Public Holiday?

Purim is not a public holiday. Businesses have normal opening hours.

Some food baskets that are exchanged during Purim may include a special pastry known as hamantash, or hamantasch.

©iStockphoto.com/sterling_photo

What Do People Do?

Purim usually begins with the reading of the Megilla (or Megillah), which refers to the story of Esther, in the synagogues for many Jewish Australians. 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. Various types of graggers or other noisemakers, including clappers, are sold in Australia prior to Purim.

Purim parties involving all generations of Jewish people are held in both urban and rural Australia. Purim gift baskets are also exchanged. These baskets may include pretzels, chocolates, other types of candy, and clappers. Many Jewish people donate to charity around this time of the year.

Public Life

Purim is not a public holiday in Australia so public offices, schools, many businesses and transport systems are open or operational.

Background

The history of Australia’s Jewish settlement can be traced back to the first fleet that landed in Sydney, Australia, in 1788. The fleet included about 14 Jewish people. Australia’s history is made up of Jewish pioneers and achievers, such as General Sir John Monash, a well-known leader who contributed to Australia’s heritage, and Sir Isaac Isaacs, the first Australian-born Governor General.

Jewish Australians continue to comprise a rich cultural mix in Australia’s modern society, where their achievements are recognized and synagogues, museums, paintings and sculptures that celebrate Jewish culture and heritage are appreciated. Festivals such as Purim are celebrated among Jewish communities in Australia. Purim commemorates the time when the Jewish people living in Persia were saved from extermination by the courage of a Jewish woman called Esther.

Jewish Holidays Last Longer Outside of Israel

In the Jewish diaspora—Jewish communities outside of Israel—an extra day is usually added to religious observances, with the exception of Yom Kippur, which lasts only one day worldwide, and Rosh Hashana, which is celebrated over two days in both Israel and the diaspora.

This custom has its roots in ancient times when the beginning of the months in the Jewish calendar still relied on the sighting of the crescent Moon following a New Moon.

The beginning of a new month was determined by the Sanhedrin, the supreme court of ancient Israel in Jerusalem. Once the date was published, messengers were dispatched to spread the news among Jews living abroad. Since this process took some time, it was decreed that Jews outside of ancient Israel were to observe every holiday for 2 days to make sure that the rules and customs applicable to each holiday were observed on the proper date. This rule is still observed today.

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.

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2016ThuMar 24PurimJewish holiday
2017SunMar 12PurimJewish holiday
2018ThuMar 1PurimJewish holiday
2019ThuMar 21PurimJewish holiday
2020TueMar 10PurimJewish holiday
2021FriFeb 26PurimJewish holiday
2022ThuMar 17PurimJewish holiday
2023TueMar 7PurimJewish holiday
2024SunMar 24PurimJewish holiday
2025FriMar 14PurimJewish holiday
2026TueMar 3PurimJewish holiday

While we diligently research and update our holiday dates, some of the information in the table above may be preliminary. If you find an error, please let us know.