Today's Reading: Esther 6-10
Purim is the holiday celebrating the salvation of the Jews from annihilation during the reign of King Xeres and Queen Esther. During the three day celebration, some very interesting customs are allowed for Jews which never occur any other time.
The eve before Purim, massive amounts of drinking are allowed. Cross dressing, usually forbidden for the Jews, is part of the celebration along with beauty pageants.
What is all this about? What is going on?
It is believed Jews were allowed to "hide" on the eve of Purim; to seem as though they were not Jews at all, but common pagans. Thus, the men of Haman could not recognize them in a crowd of people. They were allowed to indulge in practices disavowed at any other time; to be charaded and masked against any suspicion of being of Hebrew origin.
This costuming and wild behavior bled over into the Christian celebration of all saints eve, hallowed eve or what we know now to be Halloween. Satan's demons, like Haman, are out trying to destroy Christians the night before this great day. It is their last chance to snatch souls from heaven's grasp, or so it was believed. Thus, Christians would dress up as goblins and ghosts to confuse the demons so as not to be recognized. They would perform tricks unlike Christian behavior to throw the demons off their trail.
Little did I know, back in the days I went door to door with my mask on, dressed in my mother or dad's old clothing, that I was participating in a tradition borne out of violence and fear. Or when our daughters dress as princesses, did they know they were lifting up Queen Esther's role in the salvation of her people? Or do our boys understand that their gruesome costumes originated as a ploy to trick demons from snatching them into hell's fires?
I think not.
Most love the drama of costume dress up play and the joy of an extra piece of candy in their lunch box from their next door neighbor's gifting!