Celebrations for the coming Purim festival were moved forward in towns and cities across Israel to avoid expected stormy weather, with children going to school in costumes on Monday instead of Tuesday as originally planned.
The annual Jewish holiday of Purim, which officially starts Wednesday night and continues into Thursday in most places, is marked by costume-themed celebrations. Each year, Israeli schools set aside the day before for kids of all ages to arrive in costume, but with snow predicted in many areas on Tuesday, authorities made the decisions to move up the festivities rather than run the risk of having the weather ruin the fun.
Costume day was set for Monday in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and Ashdod, among many other locations.
“We won’t disappoint the children and we will celebrate with costumes and with merry-making,” Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion said Sunday in a statement explaining why the capital decided to move up the celebrations.
The Jerusalem parents’ steering committee welcomed the decision, according to the Ynet news site.
The northern city of Safed already announced Friday that it was cancelling a Purim procession schedule for Tuesday due to the expected bad weather.
Temperatures are predicted to drop on Monday with rain beginning overnight and continuing into Tuesday along with strong winds. Light snow is forecast for mountainous area and in the north and central regions.
Wednesday night, when Purim officially starts in most of the country, is forecast be cold but by then the rain and snow is expected have passed. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday are expected to see a slight rise in temperatures. Purim is traditionally celebrated a day later in certain locations, among them Jerusalem.
Temperatures for Monday were forecast at 5° Celsius (41°F) in Jerusalem, 12°C (53°F) in Tel Aviv, 8°C (46°F) in Haifa, 2°C (35.6°F) in Safed, 11°C (52°F) in Ashdod, 9°C (51.8°F) in Beersheba.
Israel already experienced a snow flurry in January with a blanket lying thick enough to close roads to the capital.
This year’s Purim celebrations come as Israel exits a wave of COVID-19 infections and will celebrated without many of the restrictions that blighted the previous two years due to the pandemic.