Where Did The Purim Carnival Come From?

Answered by
Rabbi Victor S. Appell

Though Purim is a minor holiday on the Jewish calendar, it is widely observed and a favorite holiday of many children. According to Esther 9:22, we are to observe Purim as a time of “feasting and gladness.” The holiday is marked not only the by reading of the scroll, but by Purim spielsPurim spielפּוּרִים שְׁפִּילHumorous play performed as part of the celebration of Purim. and wearing costumes. A festive meal is eaten (s'udah) on Purim afternoon. These customs led to the rise of carnivals, incorporating these traditions and often adding games for children. In Israel, Purim is joyfully observed with parades and people of all ages dressing up in costumes.