The festival of Purim commemorates the deliverance of the Jews of Persia from the annihilation prepared for them by the imperial high official Haman. The events remembered at Purim are described in the biblical book of Esther. The festival occurs on 14 Adar according to the Jewish calendar (a date falling in March or April each year). It is customary to read Megillat Ester (the Hebrew scroll of Esther) in the synagogue and in home settings during the holiday.
During the reading all present curse Haman and use special noisemakers (gragers) to make a din at each mention of his name. The collections of the Museum include two rare editions of the scroll of Esther with woodblock prints depicting the triumph of Mordechai and the downfall of Haman. Jews would decorate both the home and the synagogue for Purim with ornamental panels containing a quotation from the Babylonian Talmud: ‘Whoever enters Adar increases joy’ (Ta‘anit 29a). This inscription was accompanied by the image of a fish (Pisces) – the Zodiac sign corresponding to the month of Adar. A mandatory commandment of Purim is mishloah manat, or the obligation to send each other gifts of food. There is an ancient custom to dress up or change into "foreign" clothes. Since the Middle Ages, Ashkenazi communities have established a custom to perform special theatrical entertainments (Purim Shpiels) on the evening of Purim . To feast is one of the important components of this holiday. The usual Purim custom is to prepare three-cornered pastries with sweet fillings, called in Yiddish hamantaschen which symbolize Ammamns ears, hat, purse or pockets. In Podolia province (modern Ukraine) Jews baked honey-cakes pressed into various shapes - purim-bretl. The local Jewish custom was still alive in the 1930s, when the ethnographer G. Brilling described it as follows "For this merriment [on the victory over Amman, the enemy of the Jews] special "Amman's ears" honey-cakes were baked in various shapes with drawings. Their form could be rectangular, polygonal, rhomboid, circular, oval, shaped like a fish, etc. The drawings on them were also of the most varied kinds: fantastic monsters, fish, birds, wild beasts, or ornamental designs".