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Purim is not a Jewish Halloween

I am sure there must be several blog posts with that title.  When people ask about Purim, it’s a simple answer. It’s kind of Halloween.  The only thing similar to Halloween is the dressing up.  Otherwise there is nothing similar to Halloween (stepping off soap box).

Purim is about giving.  We give to charity so that others can enjoy a festive meal.  We give food to friends to let them know we care.  Purim is about remembering – remembering how with the help of God, Queen Esther saved the Jewish people.  It’s about stepping up – Esther was quiet in the castle.  She didn’t want to be noticed.  But when the time came, she had to come out of her shell and do what was needed.

And the dressing up – to show that nothing is as it appears.  God is not mentioned in the story of Esther, not once – but God is there – behind the scenes.  What appears to be a simple series of coincidences is actually God doing what God does best.

And like most Jewish holidays, Purim is about eating – enjoying the festive meal.

I pray that one day I can convey the wonder of Purim to my son so that he can enjoy and cherish the holiday.

We don’t have any traditions yet, except the Mishloach Manot (gifts of food).  We do two sets, one through a local organization and then we do a few of our own.  We don’t do anything fancy (tight budget and all).  I haven’t had time to bake, but I am hoping to include some hamentaschen in the future with our little boy.

Of course, I am dressing up my little one.  I mean a baby in costume – how cute is that?  I hope by starting some things young, I can get my son into the spirit (and my husband too).

And hopefully one day, my son won’t feel like he is missing out by not celebrating Halloween and loves his Purim celebrations.

What do you do?  Do you celebrate Halloween and Purim?  How do you distinguish between the two?

Chana-Esther Dayan

Chana-Esther Dayan lives in Ottawa, Canada, with her husband of five years. She is learning to integrate her Jewish faith in her daily living in a mixed marriage. Since there are no real rules, Hannah and her husband are learning as they go.