Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Purim Katan, A Little Purim

I have been trying to find time to sit down and write this post all month. Life has just been so busy, so sorry this is a bit late ;)

I wrote last year about how our family likes to celebrate Purim, the Jewish holiday celebrating Esther and the Jew's miraculous deliverance. Cocoa shared this great Purim video with me and I just have to share it because I think it does a good job of showing what Purim celebrations look like. My kids and I listened to it about a thousand times (we also loved their Hanukkah one). You just can't beat cute (orthodox) boys in skull caps making fun of pop songs.

This year as I was planning our festivities I came across a book in our local library that talked more in depth about the history of Purim. As I was reading I was surprised to discover that not only do Jews celebrate Purim but they also have a holiday they call Purim Katan, which literally means " little Purim". While Purim Katan refers to a specific day the term is often used by communities to describe the anniversary of the times when they saw the hand of God intervene on their behalf and delivered them from catastrophe, destruction, or evil. Some families even celebrate their own "Purim Katan's" to commemorate significant events or miracles that happened in their family.

The idea of giving thanks to God for the "Purim Katan's" , or the little deliverances, in my life really touched me. As I talked with my husband about it we realized that God has worked some incredible miracles in our lives and that, while he and I remember them, we don't have a formal way of recognizing them or expressing our gratitude for them. We realized that if we want our children, or even our great-grandchildren, to remember them we need to have our own little "Purim Katan" celebrations. Jon and I haven't really decided what our own "Purim Katan's" will look like yet, but I really love the idea of having family celebrations, events that perhaps might get passed down to our posterity just like Esther's story was.

The other thing I have been thinking about is how it is kind of sad that as Latter-day Saints we don't have very many formal celebrations of the many miracles and deliverances we have experienced as a people. I have always envied the Jews (and the Muslims for that matter) for having some really wonderful celebrations that honor their religious history. I think that it wouldn't hurt Latter-day Saints to celebrate our history a bit more. I mean we do celebrate the 24th of July, the day the first pioneers entered the Utah Valley, but other than that I can't think of any other events in LDS history that we acknowledge formally or with specific traditions.

My husband and I were chatting about this and came up with a few significant days that might be worth remembering and celebrating:
  • May 15th- Restoration of the Priesthood Day. This was the day that John the Baptist appeared to Joseph Smith and restored the Aaronic priesthood to the earth.
  • September 21st-- Angel Moroni Day. This was the day that the Angel Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith and gave him direction concerning the Gold plates. I actually had a professor at BYU whose family celebrated this day, I thought it was a great idea.
  • It would also be neat for people in each country to celebrate the day when their land was first set apart for the preaching of the gospel, or some other day specific to their country.
Any ideas about what other LDS "little deliverances" might be worth remembering and how we'd observe them?

I'd like to think of one that acknowledges LDS women (like the Esther story does) but I am getting tired and my mind is going blank. Any ideas?


  1. Yes yes yes! I wish we'd celebrate ones like you mentioned instead of silly stuff like Halloween and St. Patrick's Day and the like. Thanks for sharing.

  2. What a great idea, Heather! I have always been a little envious of my Catholic friends and their liturgical year, even though I don't know if I'm organized enough to celebrate that many holidays.

    We do at least observe the anniversary of the founding of Relief Society.

    We might also try celebrating the publication of Emma's first hymnal.

  3. My first thought was that March 17th (founding of Relief Society) would be a great day to celebrate women, although it's also St. Patrick's Day would probably detract from it. Wouldn't it be lovely to celebrate the lifting of the priesthood ban on blacks on June 9th! I'd love to see us celebrate tithing on the day Lorenzo Snow delivered his sermon in St. George, too. (Love this post, Heather.)

  4. Love these thoughts! We do a Pioneer Passover on July 24, and celebrate a particular family miracle every November 11--but I love the idea of calling it a purim katan.

  5. Love the idea of celebrating family miracles. Great idea! :)

  6. I think we do celebrate many of the anniversaries in Church history - although not usually with specific traditions.

    RS Birthday - every ward I have ever been in has celebrated the RS birthday, usually with a dinner and program (in fact, we just had ours on St. Patty's Day)

    Restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood - usually celebrated by a Father & Sons campout or fireside or other activity

    Restoration of the Church - usually celebrated during April General Conference - at least mentioned and discussed

    I love your idea of Purim Katan celebrations! My husband is a world religions lover, so I think he would like this idea. I can't wait to talk to him about it!

    This would make a great family home evening lesson/activity!

    Thanks for sharing!

  7. The Martin and Willie hand cart company rescue could be another cool one too, especially if you've been there.

  8. We celebrate Joseph Smith's birthday every year. We always have a family fun day sledding, ice skating etc. (Usually whatever fits into our budget the best). When we're done with our activity we look at Christmas lights and go to Krispy Kremes- a once a year treat. Then we go home and learn something new about Joseph Smith my husband prepares a story or fun facts for this before hand. Then the kids open a gift something Joseph would approve of. It's always gospel related. Each year has been different - maybe a gospel related book, CD, scripture covers or colored marking pencils etc. The kids love it and so do us parents.

    Btw, I love this site so much. I constantly pour through it. Very inspired. Thank you! I've been giving you shout outs on Facebook and put your button on my blog. I hope others get to reap the benefits of your blog like I do.

  9. Great ideas everyone! Duh? I can't believe I forgot about the day the RS was organized-- that is one that I think we have been celebrating more formally in recent years. I'd love it though if we as a people could start forming traditions to go along with them-- those are the things that really unify. I'd love to hear more ideas.

  10. I LOVE THIS! Purim and Purim Katan and everything. LOVE love love love.