Israelis celebrate Purim carnival with costumes and drink
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Israelis celebrate Purim carnival with costumes and drink

Parades abound as the festival marking the averted genocide of the Jews is marked around the country

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men and children read the Scroll of Esther, which tells the story of the Jewish festival of Purim, at a Jerusalem yeshiva on March 24, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men and children read the Scroll of Esther, which tells the story of the Jewish festival of Purim, at a Jerusalem yeshiva on March 24, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Purim holiday was celebrated throughout Israel on Wednesday evening and Thursday, with costumes, parades, gift-giving, and the traditional reading of the Scroll of Esther.

Parties and parades took place throughout the country, as the lively festivities — commemorating the biblical tale of an averted genocide of the Jews in the Persian empire some 2,500 years ago — kicked off.

In Israel, many cities throw parades to mark the festivities, while others celebrate with large meals with friends and copious amounts of alcohol.

Jerusalem and several other cities began their festivities Thursday evening, as part of a tradition that maintains that certain ancient walled cities mark the holiday a day later.

A man in a clown costume juggles during the annual parade marking the Jewish holiday of Purim in the West Bank town of Hebron on March 24, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
A man in a clown costume juggles during the annual parade marking the Jewish holiday of Purim in the West Bank town of Hebron on March 24, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israeli children in costumes pose for a photo in Jerusalem during the Jewish holiday of Purim onMarch 24, 2016. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Israeli children in costumes pose for a photo in Jerusalem during the Jewish holiday of Purim, March 24, 2016. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Israelis dressed up in elephant costumes walk down a Jerusalem street ahead of the Jewish holiday of Purim on March 22, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israelis dressed as Bing Bong from the movie ‘Inside Out’ walk down a Jerusalem street ahead of the Jewish holiday of Purim on March 22, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Dressed up Israelis take part in a parade during the festivities of the Jewish feast of Purim on March 24, 2016 in the central Israeli city of Netanya. (AFP / JACK GUEZ)
Dressed-up Israelis take part in a parade during the festivities of the Jewish festival of Purim on March 24, 2016 in the central city of Netanya. (AFP/Jack Guez)
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish kids dress up in costumes as they celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim, in Beit Shemesh, on March 24, 2016. (Yaakov Lederman/Flash90)
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish kids dress up in costumes as they celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim, in Beit Shemesh, on March 24, 2016. (Yaakov Lederman/Flash90)
Dressed up Israelis take part in a parade during the festivities of the Jewish feast of Purim on March 24, 2016 in the central Israeli city of Netanya. (AFP / JACK GUEZ)
Dressed-up Israelis take part in a parade during the festivities of the Jewish festival of Purim on March 24, 2016 in the central city of Netanya. (AFP/Jack Guez)
A dressed up Israeli couple kisses during a parade as part of the festivities of the Jewish feast of Purim on March 24, 2016 in the central Israeli city of Netanya. The carnival-like Purim holiday is celebrated with parades and costume parties to commemorate the deliverance of the Jewish people from a plot to exterminate them in the ancient Persian empire 2,500 years ago, as recorded in the Biblical Book of Esther. / AFP / JACK GUEZ
A dressed-up Israeli couple kisses during a parade as part of the festivities of the Jewish festival of Purim on March 24, 2016 in the central city of Netanya. (AFP/Jack Guez)
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