The Hebrew name means “lots.”
It refers to the Purim story found in the Scroll of Esther where the villain Haman drew lots to pick the date for the Jews’ destruction. The holiday is the celebration of a narrow escape from genocide thanks to the Esther, the biblical heroine who advised the king of the evil plot. The celebration includes a public reading of the Scroll of Esther, giving gifts to friends and to the needy and dressing up in costume and masks to symbolize the story’s many hidden truths and identities. We eat triangle shaped cookies called hamentashen (symbolizing Haman’s hat and in Israel Haman’s ear) and use a gragger (noisemaker) every time Haman’s name is mentioned when the story is read aloud to blot out his name. We greet one another by saying Chag Sameach.
Begins the evening of Wednesday, March 16