March 13, 2003
Purim Around the World
I know you're going to have a lot of fun dressing up, eating hamantaschen and drowning out Haman's name with your groggers! Here are some other interesting customs that used to be practiced at Purim around the world:
France -- Because of the verse in the Megillah, "I shall surely wipe out the memory of Amalek," children used to take smooth stones, write or engrave Haman's name on them and strike them together during the Megillah reading whenever his name was mentioned.
Egypt -- Young men would ride through the streets of the Jewish quarter on horses and camels to simulate Mordechai in the verse "and they brought him on horseback through the street of the city."
Italy -- The youngsters would divide into two camps and throw nuts at each other and the adults would ride through the streets of the town on horseback, with cypress branches in their hands.
Germany --On Purim eve, torches containing gunpowder would be ignited. During the Megillah reading, the gunpowder exploded with a deafening noise.