Yesterday was Purim in Jerusalem, one day later than in most other places because Jerusalem is a walled city.

Purim is the festival for fancy dress. It commemorates the time, in the ancient Persian Empire, when the Jews were going to be exterminated but were saved in the end.

In the walled city of Shushan, fighting continued through the normal day of Purim. Hence the later celebration in Jerusalem and a few other walled towns.

I went out to survey the scene. Fortunately it wasn’t raining, although the sky was rather grey.

Children and parents watched a show.

Watching a Purim show WatchingAPurimShow2 WatchingAPurimShow3

In Safra Square, a dubious-looking wolf towered above the crowds.

Safra Square

As I was leaving, I saw two Arab women going in to watch.

Safra SquareI wouldn’t have taken any notice of them, but I know people who don’t live here would probably be surprised.

Safra Square

Even babies were dressed up.

Babies dressed up

And cyclists.

Cyclist dressed up

And Haredim.

Haredim Haredim2

I also looked back a few years and pulled out this picture probably taken when I was four.

KindergartenQueenEstherOnHorseI’m dressed as Queen Esther, who helped to save the Jews of Persia. I don’t really remember dressing up then. But I remember that horse. It was the best part of the kindergarten. Every time the toys were brought out – usually outside in the playground – I rushed to bag that horse and loved bouncing up and down on it. It didn’t move much, but it did move forwards and I loved it.

Here I am again, in the middle of the back row, older and probably Queen Esther again:

Purim aged 8?What I notice most about this picture is how short I was, although I’m not short now. Short, young and innocent. A recipe for trouble.

The end of Purim marks the start of a month of spring cleaning leading up to Passover. Somehow, I always put it off until I find myself in a panic. Will this year be any different? I doubt it.

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