Purim in the United States
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.
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.
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 countriesRead more about Purim.
Purim ObservancesNote: Jewish holidays begin at sundown the day before the date specified for the holiday.
|Weekday||Date||Year||Name||Holiday Type||Where It is Observed|
|Sun||Feb 28||2010||Purim||Jewish holiday|
|Sun||Mar 20||2011||Purim||Jewish holiday|
|Thu||Mar 8||2012||Purim||Jewish holiday|
|Sun||Feb 24||2013||Purim||Jewish holiday|
|Sun||Mar 16||2014||Purim||Jewish holiday|
|Thu||Mar 5||2015||Purim||Jewish holiday|
|Thu||Mar 24||2016||Purim||Jewish holiday|
|Sun||Mar 12||2017||Purim||Jewish holiday|
|Thu||Mar 1||2018||Purim||Jewish holiday|
|Thu||Mar 21||2019||Purim||Jewish holiday|
|Tue||Mar 10||2020||Purim||Jewish holiday|
Quick FactsPurim commemorates a time when Jewish people were saved from death around the fourth century BCE, according to the Book of Esther.
Purim 2018Thursday, March 1, 2018
Purim 2019Thursday, March 21, 2019
Name in other languages
Other holidays in March 2019 in the United States
- St. David's Day – Friday, March 1, 2019
- Texas Independence Day – Saturday, March 2, 2019
- Maha Shivaratri – Monday, March 4, 2019
- Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras – Tuesday, March 5, 2019
- Ash Wednesday – Wednesday, March 6, 2019
- St. Patrick's Day – Sunday, March 17, 2019
- Evacuation Day – Monday, March 18, 2019
- Holi – Thursday, March 21, 2019
- Maryland Day – Monday, March 25, 2019
- Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Day – Tuesday, March 26, 2019
- National Vietnam War Veterans Day – Friday, March 29, 2019
- César Chávez Day – Sunday, March 31, 2019