March 20, 2022, 12:00 pm

Why were superheroes and princesses of all ages prancing around Israel over the past week? Tradition!

Since medieval times, dressing up in costumes has been a highlight of the holiday of Purim, which celebrates the biblical story of Queen Esther foiling an evil plot against the Jews in the Persian Empire sometime in the fifth century BCE. (How’s that for women’s empowerment??)

Just as Esther hid her Jewish identity from the king until the dramatic crescendo of the story, we cover up in costumes too.

Israelis on Jaffa Road in Jerusalem during the Jewish holiday of Purim, March 18, 2022. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Although Purim is a one-day holiday (this year, corresponding to March 17), it’s celebrated the following day in walled cities such as Jerusalem – and at schools and preschools a few days early because there’s no school on Purim.

Hasidic children and their teachers marching in Jerusalem ahead of Purim, March 13, 2022. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Children dressed up for Purim at Gabrieli Carmel School in Tel Aviv, March 15, 2022. Photo by Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90

 So it’s really like a giant week-long masquerade party across the country, complete with parades and feasts.

Israelis enjoy a Purim parade in Herzliya, March 17, 2022. Photo by Tomer Neuberg/Flash90
Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund hosted a Purim party for Ukrainian refugee children being sheltered in the KKL-JNF Field School in Ness Harim. Photo by Yossi Zamir

For more fun facts about Purim, click here.

A worshiper in costume at the reading of Megillat Esther (the Scroll of Esther) on Purim at Gvurat Israel Synagogue in Tel Aviv, March 16, 2022. Photo by Tomer Neuberg/Flash90
This picture of an Israeli commuter getting into the Purim spirit was chosen as Pic of the Day by #theappwhisperer. Photo by Dina Alfasi
Kids decked out like musical instruments during a Purim parade in Herzliya, March 17, 2022. Photo by Tomer Neuberg/Flash90
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