2020-03-09 17:44:00

Coronavirus epidemic affects Purim festival celebration in Moscow

Moscow, March 9, Interfax - The Moscow Jewish Community Center has modified the program of festivities during the Purim festival due to coronavirus spread.

"A large concert with the participation of friends from the French Jewish community was scheduled to take place on the evening of March 9. In line with Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin's relevant decree on undertaking compulsory measures with respect to people who returned from those countries where numerous Covid-19 disease cases were identified, the organizers cancelled their participation. A Russian creative company will perform at the concert," the press service of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia told Interfax.

All the other festive events will take place as scheduled earlier.

The Purim celebration will begin on the evening of March 9 this year. This festival is traditionally deemed as the merriest one among the Jews and is celebrated in memory of the miraculous saving of the Jews from their annihilation during Persian King Artaxerxes' rule.

According to the Biblical Book of Esther, Haman, a favorite of the Persian king, decided to exterminate Persian Jews, but Queen of Persia Esther, who was an ethnic Jewish woman, managed to convince her husband of enabling the Jews to deliver a preventive strike. Many Persian anti-Semites were disarmed and beaten up in the end, while the Jews executed Haman and cut off his ears in line with the local ritual.

In commemoration of the victory over ancient anti-Semites, the Jews hold a joyful carnival during the Purim festival every year, when theatrical performances telling about those events of the ancient times are staged at the synagogues.