Palmer Members Celebrate Purim Festival

June 01, 2009 | Bobbie Grimstad

Wearing exotic costumes, members of the Palmer (Alaska) Church celebrated the second annual Purim festival, a joyous, noisy Jewish feast commemorating the brave and beautiful Queen Esther.

For the March 21 event, the fellowship hall was transformed into the opulent court of Queen Esther and King Ahasuerus. Star-studded blue walls, and swaths of silky fabric converged overhead in a rainbow of colors. Columns of "marble" with climbing stenciled greenery produced a stately effect. Children dressed in colorful costumed finery carried graggers (noisemakers), they clattered as the audience jeered and hissed at every mention of Haman’s name. Everyone cheered to the names "Esther" and "Mordecai," as a narrator read the book of Esther from a heavy scroll, retelling the story of God’s deliverance of the Jews.

The banquet which followed featured Middle Eastern foods including hummus, pita bread, spanakopita, baklava and hamentaschen (a tri-cornered cookie said to symbolize Haman’s hat, or sometimes Haman’s ears.)

Purim vividly brings to life one of the great stories of the Bible. The Palmer Church looks forward to next year’s celebration.