Carnival feel in Stamford Hill for Purim festival
- Credit: Paul Wood - 07958 382323
Young and old Orthodox Jewish people in Stamford Hill came out in the streets dressed as hippies, teddy bears, clowns and presents last Thursday to mark the end of Purim, which celebrates an attempt by an ancient Persian King to wipe out the Jewish population 2,500 years ago.
The annual holiday is celebrated by Jewish communities around the world with parades, loud music, gifts and costume parties.
Betzalel Just said: ““Purim is a very happy time in all Jewish communities across the world but having been in other cities for the festival, I can say that there is definitely something extra special about it here in Stamford Hill.
“There is an amazing sense of happiness in the air with all the open top buses and the vans with music blaring out of them.
“On Purim we celebrate being saved from the evil wish of Haman to have all the Jewish people killed, so everyone is happy and partying.
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“Purim is a holiday that the kids wait all year round for, they get all dressed up and send presents to their friends which is called “Mishloach Mones”.
“We send gifts to our friends and family and give lots of charity. It’s a pity it’s all over so quickly.”
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Supervisor for voluntary Jewish patrol group Shomrim, Chaim Hochauser, said: “It’s a bit like Halloween.
“One of the five Commandments is everyone gives out presents to their close friends. “It dates back to 2000 years ago, from a story about Esther, the people are all happy out on the roads, usually they drink on that day.
“It started on Wednesday, in the evening it all kicks off and it lasted until last night, it’s 25 hours.”
Shomrim was granted permission by Hackney Council to implement road diversions and one-way system for 19 roads in Stamford Hill and appointed 40 marshalls to keep traffic flowing, as participants travelled around on double deck buses and jeeps to deliver presents.
Purim is celebrated on the 14th and 15th days of Adar, the twelfth month of the Jewish Calendar which usually coincides with March.
It commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people in ancient Persia from destruction in the wake of a plot by Haman, a story recorded in the Book of Esther.