The costume stores are popping up, Hamantaschen are hitting the shelves at all the grocery stores, and plans for crazy parties are being made. It’s Purim time in Israel.
Every year during the Hebrew month of Adar, Purim rolls around. Just like in the States on Halloween, this is a holiday for dressing up and eating sweet treats. However, during Purim we celebrate the victory of the “little guy” over the evil rulership, while on Halloween all things scary and evil are celebrated over the good.
Purim tells the story of Esther, and how she made her way to the royal palace and becomes queen in order to save her Uncle Mordechai and the Jews of Persia. Just as Esther disguised herself in the palace, so do we dress up on Purim. In order to celebrate Esther’s victory, and ultimately the Jew’s survival, we celebrate by going out, dressing up, and partying.
If you find yourself travelling in Israel during Purim, you might be a bit overwhelmed at first by the huge amounts of people out in the streets, from little kids and parents in the school costume parades, to college students at street parties, to dress up contests and concerts in all the major cities. In order to make it easy for you while visiting Israel over Purim, here is a list of the best thing to do for every type of partier.
Families with little kids: travelling with children on Purim
There are so many different activities to do with children on Purim all over Israel. One cool activity is going to the Tel Aviv Art Museum, where a special interactive exhibit is being held for the whole family, called “Me and My Selfie”. If you want to get out of Tel Aviv, there is a fun festival that is held at Latrun (located between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem), where kids get to try out all sorts of musical instruments and make their own music. A costume contest is also held at this event. If you want to enjoy nature and the fun holiday, try taking your children to “The Agricultural Circus”, where all the circus activities are held outside. Here, your kids can also try out different activities such as juggling, face painting, and more.
Dressed up and legal: street parties and concerts for twenty-something and twenty-somethings-at-heart
Just like Halloween at college campuses all over the USA, Purim is the big party holiday here in Israel. If you are looking for a good time, we suggest going to a street party. Most of the street parties take place during the day, leaving enough time to nap before going out in the evening. One of the most famous places to go is Rabin Square in Tel Aviv. All the bars are packed and bring their prices way down. The whole square and all the surrounding streets are filled with dressed up adults, which is always a fun sight to see. There is also an awesome street party in Jerusalem. Head to Gan Sakker and the Nahlaot neighborhood as well as Kikar Safra for a dress up up good time. After sleeping off the afternoon festivities, there are loads of concerts in the evenings in all the major cities.
Party with nature: Purim festivals in the great outdoors
There are many festivals that you will most likely hear about from locals, but one of the most special festivals is held at the Desert Ashram in the Negev. With a variety of housing options, the Desert Ashram can be perfect for all types of outdoorsy people. The ashram offers yoga sessions, meditation, arts and crafts, and parties in the evenings under the stars. If you are looking for a psychedelic and truly unique experience, this is the place for you.