Purim spiel

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A Purim Spiel, or Purimshpil, meaning a Purim playshpil means 'game' or '(stage) play' in Yiddish. (See also spiel).

A Purim Spiel is usually a comic dramatization, as a traditional type of Jewish play, or informal theatrical production, with participants, usually children, wearing costumes that depict the characters in the story in the Book of Esther, the central text and narrative that describes what transpired on Purim and why it has become an important Jewish holiday.

By the 18th century in eastern Romania and some other parts of Eastern Europe, Purim plays (called Purimshpiln, ) had evolved into broad-ranging satires with music and dance, precursors to Yiddish theater, for which the story of Esther was little more than a pretext: indeed, by the mid-19th century, some were even based on other stories, such as Joseph sold by his brothers, Daniel, or the Binding of Isaac. Since satire was deemed inappropriate for the synagogue itself, they were usually performed outdoors in its court. Purimspiels are still performed in many communities.

A favorite form of a Purim Spiel for children is enacted in puppet shows with the Purim characters and their antics making the children laugh.

The festival of Purim contains much celebration of comic relief because the decree of the wicked Haman was annulled and the Jewish people living in the ancient Persian Empire were saved from the edict of death and genocide instigated against them by Haman and instead rejoiced at the downfall of their...
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