All over the world Jewish people will be spending the 23rd and 24th of March celebrating Purim.
Purim takes us back to ancient Persia when Haman the royal vizier to King Ahasuerus decided to instigate a pogrom. His plans were foiled by Mordecai and his cousin Esther who had become Queen of Persia.
The day that Esther and Mordecai saved the Jewish people became a time of celebration commemorated by exchanging gifts, feasting, readings from the Scroll of Esther, special prayers and giving alms to the poor. When Haman's name is read out during the public chanting of the Megillah in the synagogue, the congregation makes noises to blot it out. A ra’ashan, which is a little like a football rattle, is often used to drown out Haman’s name except in Span and Portugal where it is considered undignified.
Purim celebrated on the 14th day of Adar
According to the Hebrew calendar, Purim is usually celebrated on the 14th day of Adar or on Adar II in leap years. There are exceptions to this rule; in cities which were protected by walls in the reign of Joshua it is celebrated on the 15th of the month because fighting in the walled city of Shushan continued through the 14th day of Adar.