Purim. Known sometimes as the Jewish Mardi Gras or the Jewish Halloween is by far my most favorite holiday of the year. Everyone dresses up in extravagantly creative costumes and parades through the streets in a party like no other. This year, things will no doubt be quite different, but that didn’t stop us from our yearly creative frenzy!
Purim is the perfect outlet for us to express our creativity. We take these festivities as the perfect opportunity for us to create an epic and one-of-a-kind costume. As it is one of the only chances to wear beautiful gowns, long, fancy dresses tend to be our theme year after year. And of course we always have matching/coordinating costumes! In the past, we have been the sun and the moon, two birds of Israel, and a cheetah and a jaguar.
History of Purim
Purim is one of the happiest of Jewish holidays. It commemorates the Biblical story of Queen Esther. Queen Esther, whose real name was Hadassah was a young Jewish girl who, through the ancient version of a beauty contest, became the Queen of Persia. She hid her Jewish identity from the king until a royal official in the kingdom arose who planned to kill all the Jews. Right before the day decreed for the massacre of the Jews, Queen Esther told the king that she too was a Jew and was able to save her people from annihilation. The days of grief were transformed into days of joy. Just as Queen Esther hid her identity from the king, to this day, on Purim we hide our identity with masks and costumes to commemorate this amazing story!
It is also tradition to get extremely and excessively drunk (hence the crazy parties). Crowds and performers fill the streets of Israel for this incredible festival. Street parties with thousands of people, everyone in costume, is the norm for multiple days. Everyone is trying to guess the other’s costume. And the best part….it’s not just for the kids! EVERYONE dresses up, young and old. It’s really so much fun.
Even though this year we certainly won’t be celebrating with mass parties with thousands of people, we are still dressing up! Having a hard time coming up with a creative costume idea, Brooke and I were trying to think of something unique. Jokingly she said to me, “whatever I can’t think of anything….let’s just be trees.” We both laughed. So stupid right? But then we sat in silence for a few moments and I looked at her. “No really….what if we’re trees. We can make a beautiful, long brown dress, narrow like a tree trunk and then add some green to a hat on top and leaves and voila!” And that is how our tree costumes were born.
We went the next day to the fabric stores and somehow, miraculously, found two brown fabrics that literally could not have been more perfect. We couldn’t imagine what someone would buy these for except a tree costume. The were brown and textured with ribs looking almost identical to tree bark. We found a few shades of green toile for our headpieces, some decorational leaves, and headed home to start creating.
We decided to make matching dresses; long, narrow, and simple to look just like a tree trunk. To add the effect of branches, we made long ‘evening’ gloves that went all the way up the arm. For the leaves, we wound together the green toiles to make a sort of a headpiece that would look like the top of a tree. Wrapping fake leaves all around the green ‘hat’ and the brown dress was the final touch. Two trees. Now the next step….a photoshoot.
“Two Trees” Photoshoot
What better place to take a photoshoot of our costumes, two trees, than in a park. We would fit right in….quite literally. So we made our way to the urban park, Park HaYarkon, in Tel Aviv very early one morning. We dressed up in the costumes and started to shoot, imagining ourselves just as the trees in the forest. We wanted more than anything to have a whole group of people to dress up with, and we could all be different trees. And then together, what would we be? A forest…..
What do you think of our costumes? And the holiday of Purim? I can never get over the small fame that Purim has around the world. If I was a tourist, I would be rushing to Israel just to celebrate Purim as it is one of the best country-wide festivals I have ever seen!
Lots of Love,
Danielle and Brooke, Colorful Sisters