ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Holidays and Celebrations»
  • Jewish Holidays

Jewish Holiday Purim. Recipe of Purim cookies (hamantashen or Haman's ears).

Updated on March 13, 2017

Purim is my Favorite Holiday from the Jewish Calendar

All holidays of a Jewish calendar are connected with TANACH (what is known as Old Testament by non-Jews). Some of the holidays are strictly religious, others are less. As for our family, some holidays we do celebrate traditionally, some we don't. Purim is our favorite holiday. It is more national, than religious. Actually, it has little to do with the God's help, but It takes its origin in the Bible (TANACH), in the Book of Esther (in the Writings, and, by the way, the God is not mentioned in this story which makes it stand apart). In a way it does represent a miracle. It is the celebration of a great victory of good over evil and our physical survival as a Jewish people.

As a celebration, Purim is a very physical festival, which means that we DO celebrate. We eat sumptuous meals, drink a lot of wine and give lots of presents. Why? You'll see.

Esther and the King.  a picture from
Esther and the King. a picture from
Esther and Mordechai  a picture from
Esther and Mordechai a picture from

To make a long story short....

Persian King Ahasuerus (Achashverosh) gets drunk during a long feast (you will see, it's a lot about getting drunk :-)) and calls his wife Vashti to show her beauty in front of the guests. Vashti refuses to obey his order and the King gets mad and fires her. Then the King searches the country for a new queen. From among hundreds of applicants, Esther, a cousin of Mordechai the Jew, is chosen. In other sources Esther is Mordechai's niece. Esther does not reveal to the King that she is Jewish (her real name is Hadassah).

Once Mordechai happens to overhear the plotters who plot to kill the King and warns Esther. She in her turn warns the King but gives the credit to Mordechai.

The King's Prime Minister (vizier) was an evil man named Haman. He orders everyone to kneel in front of him. Mordechai refuses to do this. Haman, a descendant of the tribe of Amalek, hates the Jews and decides to kill them. He convinces King Ahasuerus to issue an order to destruct all Jews in the empire.

Mordechai pleads with Esther to save the Jewish people by talking to the King. Esther organizes the feast which goes for three days, where everyone gets drunk (you see, it is about getting drunk again:-)). Then at the risk of her own life, Esther appears before the King without being summoned by him. She reveals her own Jewish identity to the King and reveals Haman's evil plans.

The King is outraged at Haman, and he issues a decree to make Haman the victim of his own infamous plot. Haman and his sons are killed, and the Jews are saved.

God is not mentioned, but He is there.

Purim is a classic story of deep-rooted anti-Semitism that aims to wipe the Jews off the face of the earth. The namePurimcomes from the word "Pur", which means “lot” (as in lottery). "Lots" were small pieces of pottery used in games of chance in ancient times.

Seemingly random, accidental events allow a Jewish leader Mordechai and a young Jewish woman Esther to orchestrate a complete turnaround of events leading to destruction of plotters and to the survival of Jewish nation. As it is said in The Book of Esther (9:1) “And it was turned around, the Jews prevailed over their enemies”.

The Book of Esther stands apart from other scriptures because God is not mentioned in it even once, unlike in other scriptures. This is intentional, to teach us a very powerful lesson. All those “random events” were actually hidden miracles. Although sometimes God appears to be “hidden”, we recognize that He controls world events. Nothing is random. In fact, a name Esther in Hebrew means “hidden”, as in “And I will surely hide (“as-thir”) My face on that day….” (Deuteronomy 31:18). That is why during Purim celebrations we “hide” our faces by wearing masks and costumes. The message is clear: God may be hidden, but we know that He is there!

Purim gragger, noise maker
Purim gragger, noise maker
noise makers
noise makers

Purim traditions

The Purim traditions include:

Sharing of the treats, as you send a plate with some snacks to other people (Mishloach Manot- in Hebrew, or Shalahmones- in Yiddish). I still remember how I laughed when reading a story by Sholom Aleichem (a pseudonym of Shalom Rabinowitz, a hilarious Yiddish writer about two young maids sent with rich plates of "shalachmones" (sent portions) to bring them to their ladies, who were friends. On the way the maids met and decided to try some of the treats. They ended bringing very scarce plates to their ladies and ladies didn't talk to each other for years to come, as each thought that the other was very greedy to send a scarce "shalahmones".

Reading The Book of Esther out loud. Children should make a noise with their graggers (noise makers, "ra'ashanim") every time the name of Hamman is pronounced.

Dressing in colorful costumes and going to the streets. Traditionally, costumes are personages from Esther story, but nowadays, anything will go, the funnier the better.

Adloyada ("Till you can't tell"), a street carnival organized by city halls. The most famous one in Israel takes place in Holon.

Having festive dinners, where one should drink a lot, so much that you can't tell the difference between Mordechai the Jew and Haman. (it was, after all, ALL about getting drunk)

Purim shpiel, special Purim performances performed on stages, at home in companies, in the streets.

Eating special triangle cookies, Haman's ears, or Hamentashes in Yiddish. Actually, Purim celebration menu does not have to be special besides the desert, these cookies. The Purim menu includes fish dishes, soups and wine. There's a dish called "Kreplach", which are small squares of pasta dough with filling of ground beef or chicken folded into triangles. They can be boiled and served in soup or fried and served as a side dish. However, here I am going to show the special Purim cookie, Hamentash.

If you don't want to bother, you can just buy them ready. Or you can take a challenge and make them.
If you don't want to bother, you can just buy them ready. Or you can take a challenge and make them.
Dough ball
Dough ball
in the process
in the process
more haman's ears
more haman's ears

Purim cookies recipe

As Jewish people joke, their holidays are about eating; "They tried to kill us. We survived. Now let's eat!"

Hamantashen is a triangular-shaped, filled pastry which is traditionally served on Purim. My favorite filling is poppy seeds, though you can use any kind of pie filling.

The cookies are often called "Hamantashen" which means "Haman's pockets" in Yiddish. Some say that Haman wore a three-cornered hat, and that is why the cookie is triangular.

In Hebrew, the pastry is called "Oznei Haman" which means Haman's ears. This name may have come from the tale which says that when Haman entered the King's treasury, he was bent over with shame and humiliation (literally with clipped ears).


  • 1 1/2 cups butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 (12 ounce) can poppy seed filling


  1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the orange juice and vanilla. Mix in the baking powder, and then gradually stir in the flour until the dough forms a ball. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into 3 inch circles using a cookie cutter or drinking glass. Place circles on the prepared cookie sheets. Spoon 1 teaspoon of filling onto the center of each circle. (Any more and it will ooze out) Pinch the sides of each circle to form a triangle, covering as much of the filling as possible. The cookies may be frozen on the cookie sheets if desired to help retain their shape while cooking.
  4. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until light golden brown. These are best undercooked slightly. Cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

Here is another version by my dear friend, please, follow the link.

Purim fun

In the right upper corner is an Ashdod light tower. This is the place where the whale spit Jonah out :-)
In the right upper corner is an Ashdod light tower. This is the place where the whale spit Jonah out :-)

Purim Calendar

2010: February 28 (Sun)

2011: March 20 (Sun)

2012: March 8 (Thurs)

2013: February 24 (Sun)

2014: March 16

2015: March 5

2016: March 24

Some facts of interest about Purim

Purim is celebrated on the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the Hebrew lunar month of Adar. This year, 2009, it is on March 10th (begins on sunset of March 9th)

The name Purim comes from the word "Pur", which means lot (as in lottery). "Lots" were small pieces of pottery used in games of chance in ancient times.

Purim will be celebrated for ever, as even The Talmud tells us that Purim will be celebrated even after the Mashiach (Messiah) comes, but other holidays will not, as there will be no reason for them.

In every generation there is another Haman, out to destroy the Jewish nation. Whether it is Hitler or Ahmadinejad (and the list goes on), those who curse Israel are doomed to destruction. And those, who bless Israel will forever be blessed. (Genesis 12:3)

Israel will survive and prosper- this is the true celebration of Purim.

So cute!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • ReuVera profile image

      ReuVera 7 years ago from USA

      Thank you for visiting, electricsky!

    • electricsky profile image

      electricsky 7 years ago from North Georgia

      Thank you for your hub.

    • sjk6101983 profile image

      sjk6101983 7 years ago from Milwaukee, WI

      Happy Purim to you too! Sorry I'm a day late! We were celebrating at Hillel all afternoon yesterday with a shop and swap, the Hamantashen -which was REALLY good considering I never had it before, lots of juice and soda, popcorn, and ice cream!

    • ReuVera profile image

      ReuVera 7 years ago from USA

      Thanks, Sara! We were making those costumes from whatever we had at home.

      Happy Purim!

    • sjk6101983 profile image

      sjk6101983 7 years ago from Milwaukee, WI

      hi again...remember I'm Reuven's friend Sarah! sorry I haven't read any of the blogs lately, just been super busy with school! lol! anyway, I just thought I'd say that those costumes of Reuven when he was little are so cute! :)

    • ReuVera profile image

      ReuVera 8 years ago from USA

      AE, you are so nice to think about your patients... I'm sure they love you.

    • AEvans profile image

      Julianna 8 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      Looks like a yummy recipe we definitely will try it, one of my pts is Jewish and I would love to make these for her. :)

    • ReuVera profile image

      ReuVera 8 years ago from USA

      What a story, loved it! Rabbi as a watermelon, cool! I love Purim too, it's my favorite Jewish holiday.

      In general, Jewish people can celebrate big! Have you ever seen how Jewish men are dancing? From all their heart, with all their energy!

    • Guru-C profile image

      Cory Zacharia 8 years ago

      Hi, ReuVera, A few years ago, in New York, a friend of mine who is Catholic told me she had never visited a synagogue and would I take her with me one day.  I said sure! and we made plans to go that Friday evening. I didn't know that it was Purim, and when we walked in, most everyone was wearing a costume, the rabbi was dressed like a watermelon, people were turning their noisemakers and yelling out Haman and there was a table full of bar items. My friend turned to me and said, "I really like your religion!" I couldn't stop laughing as I told her, "It's not like this all the time." I love Purim!!!

    • ReuVera profile image

      ReuVera 8 years ago from USA

      Tom, thank you for visiting. I'm sure your hamantashen taste good though. They always taste good, don't they? The trick with the dough is that you should not roll it too thin. Quarter of an inch is perfect, may be even one-third. It's nice that your wife popularizes Purim at your daughter's school. Good luck to your girl with her playing. My son helped to organize Purim Prom for Universities' students, but they invited ComedySportz guys to play.

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image

      Tom Rubenoff 8 years ago from United States

      I just made Hamantashen yesterday, but they don't look as good as yours. My wife makes Purim baskets for the teachers and administrators of our elementary school every year. They've come to expect it, so we are glad our last is graduating from there year after next. That daughter is in the "Purim Schpiel" in our temple tonight.

    • ReuVera profile image

      ReuVera 8 years ago from USA

      Vladimir, thank you for visitting and commenting. Your opinion is very valuable, as you know the Bible very good.

    • ReuVera profile image

      ReuVera 8 years ago from USA

      Rochelle, thank you a lot for reading and commenting. I appreciate it a lot. I am very glad you liked it. Merry Purim (Hag Purim Sameach- in Hebrew)!

      P.S. I usually don't notice misspellins :) (unless I'm prompted:))

    • Vladimir Uhri profile image

      Vladimir Uhri 8 years ago from HubPages, FB

      ReuVera, Thank you very much for beautiful stories about purim. I enjoyed it.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 8 years ago from California Gold Country

      P.S. You know this is a genuine post from me complete with creative typos and/or misspellings.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 8 years ago from California Gold Country

      Thanks for sharing this, with all of the traditions and "extras". I aways appreciated the tale of Esther, and also appretiated that she changed her name. Feminine heroic figures are too few in Judeo-Christian literature.

      I always thought Hamantaschen were Haman's purse or pocket.

      A classic tale of good and evil. Reason for festivity, indeed.