Purim Guide

Purim Holiday Traditions, History & Celebrations

1. Why do we wear costumes on Purim?

There are multiple reasons why costumes are worn on Purim. One reason is that in the Megillah, there are no outright miracles that cause the salvation of the Jewish people; in fact, God is not mentioned once in the Megillah. While we don’t view divine miracles in the Purim story, it is evident that a “hidden hand” guides the Jews toward a positive resolution. To celebrate the notion that our day-to-day lives are guided by God’s “hidden miracles”, we wear costumes on Purim; although we appear as someone else, our true motivations are hidden underneath our masquerade. 

We also wear costumes to allow those less fortunate to receive charity and mishloach manot while minimizing embarrassment. 

Lastly, similar to the secrecy of God’s involvement in the Purim story, many characters conceal information from others in the Megillah. Esther does not disclose her Jewishness to King Ahasuerus or Haman and Haman conceals his plot to kill Mordechai. Therefore, costumes and masquerades keep the secrecy and deception of the Purim story alive.

Children in a parade wearing Purim costumes
Children marching in a Purim parade while wearing costumes. (Photo credit: GPO / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

2. What costume should you wear on Purim?

The costume choices for Purim are on an enormous spectrum. One can wear a costume of important Purim characters, such as Mordechai, Esther, King Ahasuerus—or even Haman! However, it is acceptable to wear almost any type of costume; it is common to see children dressed as superheroes, animals, cowboys and many other secular costumes. 

The custom of costume-wearing is not limited to children, therefore, everyone is welcome to dress up! Put on your fanciest mask or costume and enjoy the Purim celebration!

Give Mishloach Manot