Jewish people living in Brooklyn dressed up to celebrate the festival of Purim on Thursday night.
The festival commemorates the survival of the Jewish people who had been marked for death in ancient Persia.
One custom is to drink until you cannot distinguish between the story’s hero and its villain.
In Israel, even adults go to work wearing costumes and dress up to go to the synagogue.
This year, some services in New York City were held outside or under tents and heat lamps as the coronavirus has led to many religious gatherings being held in limited numbers.
Last March, as coronavirus struck the Big Apple, doctors began to see an exponential rise in daily cases in the Orthodox Jewish propelled by communal gatherings for Purim
Orthodox communities in Borough Park, Crown Heights and Williamsburg, three neighborhoods with large Hasidic populations, were hit particularly hard as the pandemic first hit the United States last March.
Purim-related parties coupled with heavy drinking saw the virus spread rapidly coming before restrictions were put in place.
Jewish men ignore social distancing to drink in the streets as they celebrate the festival of Purim on Thursday night
Orthodox Jews partied in Brooklyn as they celebrated the festival of Purim
Youngsters wearing orange hats danced around in the streets without masks
Jewish boys wearing quirky hats paraded through the streets as they celebrated the 2,500 year old festival
It is typical for people to dress up into all manner of costumes as they celebrate the festival
Children in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York celebrate the festival of Purim which began at sunset on Thursday evenging
Pirates appeared to be a popular theme this year as kids appeared to relish the chance to dress more informally than normal
One little girl seemed to enjoy dressing up together with a beard as she followed in her father’s footsteps
One youngsters looked to be dressed up like a rocket man with a creatively arranged costume as he walked the streets
A couple of boys grabbed hold of their swords and stuck a pose as they had fun on Thursday night
Celebrations this year are due to be more reserved due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic
This young man’s costume in Stamford Hill in London from 2020 couldn’t help but poke a little fun during the festivities
Children in religious communities such as those in Brooklyn are allowed to dress up for school and attend costume parties.
The festival is celebrated on the 14th of the Hebrew month Adar and it widely believed to be the most joyous day on the Jewish calendar.
Aside from dressing up Jewish people celebrate by listening to the Book of Esther which tells the story of a Hebrew woman in Persia, Esther, who becomes queen of Persia and thwarts a genocide of her people.
The plot was discovered by Esther, who helped to defeat the evil advisor to the Persian king, Haman.
This boy seemed to enjoy dressing up as photographer as he came face to face with our own snapper on the street!
It’s popular for children to dress up like royalty with the story of Purim revolving around a king and queen
Two kids managed to pull off the police officer look to perfection as they strolled through Williamsburg with their father
Kids of all ages dress up for the festival. One girl was dressed as a witch while their siblings looked to be a fox and a clown
Two boys were caught crossing the street as they carried the heads to their bear costumes in their hands
An all out pretend battle between royalty and pirates with plastic swords appeared to break out on the streets of Williamsburg
One youngster showed off their costume as they dressed up as a fox
One little boy held out his sword as he mischievously marched through Williamsburg on Thursday evening
Probably the best explanation as to why costumes are worn on Purim is because Esther masqueraded as a non-Jew and dressed up as a queen to unveil the plot against her people.
The story forms the core of the Jewish festival of Purim, during which it is read aloud twice: once in the evening and again the following morning.
The evening before Purim, Jewish people do not typically eat or drink, but during the festival they enjoy a lavish feast together with wine.
Drunkenness is usually discouraged by Jewish law but it is considered a mitzvah – religious duty – to drink alcohol on Purim although followers are still expected to perform all other duties of the festival.
A special food is also eaten for the Jewish holidays including hamantaschen, a sweet three-cornered pastry filled with poppy seeds or jam.
According to the tale, Haman’s ears were cut off as a part of his punishment. The cookies eaten on Purim, called Humentaschen, translate to ‘ears of Haman’.
In previous years, the mood has been far more jovial with excited parents and children all taking part in the religious celebration dressed up as cowboys, princesses, and mad scientists as they headed to synagogue for parties and prayer services.
A Rabbi reads from the Book of Ester to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim in Brooklyn
A woman follows along with the reading of the Book of Ester to celebrate the Jewish holiday upon which the festival is based
Tzipora Laub, left, speaks to her father through a window as people celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim in Brooklyn
Eliyahu Jacoby, 6, dresses as a Power Ranger as he prepared to listen to a special service to celebrate the holiday
This year, many services are taking place in outdoor tents due to the coronavirus pandemic
Aaron Laub wears a Viking costume as he prepared to listen to the Book of Esther at a Purim service in Brooklyn
A man reads from the Megillah (scroll) of Esther as his children follow along
Two girls dress up convincingly as bakers as they celebrated Purim in Williamsburg on Thursday evening
The regal theme runs throughout many of the costumes seen during the Purim celebrations
A man is pictured walking quickly across the street in Williamsburg just before sunset when the festival starts
A Jewish man can be seen walking with his children while wearing at shtreimel, a fur hat worn by some Jewish men
As the sun sets the festival begins. A religious Jewish man’s top hat and beard are silhouetted against the dusk sky
During previous years the Purim celebrations have been far more upbeat with parades and large gatherings often held.
New York City’s health department have long been watching the neighborhoods where Orthodox communities live.
Cases started rising in August with most attributed to the large weddings held in many Orthodox communities, particularly in Borough Park and Williamsburg.
Jews across New York City celebrated the traditional festival of Purim this week, which started on Wednesday and ended Thursday evening
The evening before Purim the Jewish people fast. Then on Purim there is a grand feast, children dress in costumes and exchange sweets, and all gather at synagogues for to hear the ancient story of Queen Esther. Pictured in 2019
This little boy strutted down the streets in his genius homemade popcorn costume, complete with a popcorn covered cap, Pictured in 2019
Thumbs up! These boys gave a cheeky thumbs up to photographers amid the craziness of Purim, pictured in 2019
Families were seen walking to synagogue with presents and in fun costumes for the special holiday, pictured in 2019
Mini me! A proud father dressed as an officer and his son dressed as a cop saluted cameras as they walked through Brooklyn, pictured in 2019
Strike a pose: Adults joined in the costume fun as well to mark Purim, a jolly festival for the Jewish people, pictured in 2019
All smiles here! These two little boys couldn’t contain their excitement and went all out with their costumes as a frightening pirate and a gleeful cowboy from the Wild West, both pictured in 2019
This vibrant trio was spotted in Brooklyn on Thursday dressed as a pineapple, strawberry and a cheerful clown , pictured in 2019
Children dressed up in fun costumes like this boy dressed as a mad scientist. Pictured in 2019
THE MEANING BEHING THE STORY OF PURIM
The Jewish holiday Purim commemorates the salvation of the Jewish people in the ancient Persian Empire from a plot intended to wipe them out.
The story, which is recorded in the Biblical Book of Esther, tells the tale of how an advisor to King Ahasuerus named Haman planned to kill all the Jews, only for his wicked plot to be thwarted by the king’s wife Esther and her adoptive father Mordecai.
Haman had selected a day on which he would annihilate the entire Jewish population and had sent out a decree bearing the King’s seal, ordering that every Jewish man, woman and child be killed.
But Esther – who had been chosen as Ahasuerus’s wife by taking part in a beauty contest and concealing the fact she was Jewish – later convinced the King to send out a new decree allowing the Jews to rise up and defend themselves – thus saving their lives.
The story is read out in synagogues while children traditionally get dressed up as Esther, or the King.
In the synagogue they are given football rattles and noisemakers to drown out Haman’s name.