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Jews celebrate Purim with charity, bright costumes, drink and feasts

Underage smoking also marks the observance for some Jewish families.
By Will Creighton   |   March 25, 2016 at 2:08 PM
| License Photo

For Jews the world over, Purim is a joyful holiday that celebrates their salvation from genocide in ancient Persia, as recounted in the book of Esther. As night falls following a day of observance, Israelis break out colorful costumes and alcohol and take to the streets in what is one of the more colorful holidays in the world.

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Celebrated every year on the 14th day of the Hebrew month of Adar, observances in 2016 began at sunset on Wednesday, March 23, ended at nightfall on Thursday, March 24.

On Purim, Jews give money to the poor, gift their friends with food and hold a feast where adults drink until they don't "know the difference between 'cursed be Haman' (the bad guy) and 'blessed be Mordechai'" (the good guy), according to Jewish doctrine and the story that inspired the Purim celebration.

Dressing in costume is a big part of the holiday, with the disguises representing the belief that God is at work but hidden in our lives. Nowhere is Purim celebrated with more energy than Jerusalem's Mea Shearim neighborhood, where it includes (for reasons that aren't clear) Orthodox Jewish children smoking cigarettes as part of the holiday.

Snow White
Snow White leads a procession of revelers through the streets of Jerusalem in celebration of the Jewish holiday of Purim on March 25, 2016. Photo by Debbie Hill/ UPI
Father-Daughter dance
An Orthodox father playfully dances with his young daughter as they celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim in Jerusalem, on March 25, 2016. Photo by Debbie Hill/ UPI
Smoking kids
An Ultra-Orthodox Jewish boy wears a costume and smokes a cigarette on the Purim holiday in the Mea Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem, Israel, on March 6, 2015. Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI
Trump in Jerusalem
"Donald Trump" looks a little worse for wear as he celebrates the Jewish holiday of Purim in Jerusalem, on March 25, 2016. Photo by Debbie Hill/ UPI
Aladdin and his Magic Carpet
An Israeli man dressed as Aladdin rides a motorized red carpet as he celebrates the Jewish holiday of Purim in Jerusalem, on March 25, 2016. Photo by Debbie Hill/ UPI

לא יודע אם תאמינו לי, אבל ראיתי עכשיו את אלאדין עובר באדום על השטיח באלנבי...#ישלנומנצחלפורים

Posted by Aviad Rosenfeld on Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Supersmurf meets a ladybug
Supersmurf and a little ladybug take part in the festivities while celebrating the Jewish holiday of Purim in Jerusalem, on March 25, 2016. Photo by Debbie Hill/ UPI
Shimmering in red
A young Ultra-Orthodox Jewish boy wear an elaborate costume as he celebrates Purim in the Mea Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem, Israel, on March 6, 2015. Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI
Israeli youth dressed as Palestinian youth
Jewish youth dressed as Palestinians celebrate the feast of Purim in the Mea Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem, Israel, on March 17, 2014. Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI
Beware the clowns
Israeli Jewish settlers dressed in costumes take part in the annual Purim parade in Hebron, West Bank, on February 24, 2013. Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI
Love is all you need
Israeli Jewish settler children wear costumes as they stand in front of shuttered Palestinian shops during the annual Purim parade in Hebron, West Bank, on February 24, 2013. Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI
One day to smoke
An Ultra-Orthodox Jewish boy smokes a cigarette on the Jewish holiday of Purim in the Mea Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem, Israel, on March 9, 2012. Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI
Superdog
A dog wears a Superman costume on the Jewish holiday of Purim on March 25, 2016. Photo by Debbie Hill/ UPI
Cap'n Jack
Captain Jack Sparrow parties with a bird in a cage as they celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim in Jerusalem, on March 25, 2016. Photo by Debbie Hill/ UPI
Band of colors
Israelis wear costumes on the Purim holiday in the Mea Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem, on March 6, 2015. Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI
Cheetara and the Angels
Cheetara parades through the narrow alleys of Jerusalem on March 25, 2016, while celebrating the Jewish holiday of Purim. Photo by Debbie Hill/ UPI
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