Nation plays dress-up to celebrate Purim holiday
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Nation plays dress-up to celebrate Purim holiday

Costumes abound as the wacky festival marking the averted genocide of the Jews by the Persian empire kicks off

Illustrative: Ultra-Orthodox Jews and a child wearing a costume read the book of Esther at a synagogue in the city of Bnei Brak on March 4, 2015. (AFP PHOTO/MENAHEM KAHANA)
Illustrative: Ultra-Orthodox Jews and a child wearing a costume read the book of Esther at a synagogue in the city of Bnei Brak on March 4, 2015. (AFP PHOTO/MENAHEM KAHANA)

The Purim holiday was celebrated throughout Israel on Thursday (with the exception of Jerusalem), with costumes, parades, and the traditional reading of the scroll of Esther and gift-giving.

Parties and parades were scheduled throughout the country, as the lively festivities — commemorating the averted genocide of the Jews in the Persian empire some 2,500 years ago, saved by the Jewish Queen Esther — 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 was set to celebrate the holiday on Friday, as part of a tradition that maintains that certain ancient walled cities mark the day after the holiday.

A man dressed up as Naftali Bennett in one of his campaign ads, at the Oz VeGaon outpost in Gush Etzion. March 4, 2015. (photo credit: Gershon Elinson/Flash90)
A man dressed up as Naftali Bennett in one of his campaign ads, at the Oz VeGaon outpost in Gush Etzion. March 4, 2015. (photo credit: Gershon Elinson/Flash90)
A dressed up Israeli takes part in a parade during the festivities of the Jewish Purim festival on March 5, 2015 in the central Israeli city of Netanya. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ)
A dressed up Israeli takes part in a parade during the festivities of the Jewish Purim festival on March 5, 2015 in the central Israeli city of Netanya. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ)
Jews take part in the reading of the Megillat Esther on the eve of the Jewish Purim holiday, at the Oz VeGaon outpost in Gush Etzion. March 4, 2015. (photo credit: Gershon Elinson/Flash90)
Jews take part in the reading of the Megillat Esther on the eve of the Jewish Purim holiday, at the Oz VeGaon outpost in Gush Etzion. March 4, 2015. (photo credit: Gershon Elinson/Flash90)
Ultra Orthodox Jewish men and children of the Vizhnitz chassidic dynasty seen during the reading of the Scroll of Esther in Bnei Brak on Wednesday night, March 4, 2015. (photo credit: Amir Levy/Flash90)
Ultra Orthodox Jewish men and children of the Vizhnitz chassidic dynasty seen during the reading of the Scroll of Esther in Bnei Brak on Wednesday night, March 4, 2015. (photo credit: Amir Levy/Flash90)
Dressed up Israelis take part in a parade during the festivities of the Jewish Purim festival on March 5, 2015 in the central Israeli city of Netanya. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ)
Dressed up Israelis take part in a parade during the festivities of the Jewish Purim festival on March 5, 2015 in the central Israeli city of Netanya. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ)
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men and children of the Vizhnitz chassidic dynasty seen during the reading of the Scroll of Esther, which tells the story of the Jewish festival of Purim, in Bnei Brak on Wednesday night, March 4, 2015. (photo credit: by Amir Levy/Flash90)
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men and children of the Vizhnitz chassidic dynasty seen during the reading of the Scroll of Esther, which tells the story of the Jewish festival of Purim, in Bnei Brak on Wednesday night, March 4, 2015. (photo credit: by Amir Levy/Flash90)
An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man and his dressed-up child read the book of Esther at a synagogue in the Israeli city of Bnei Brak on March 4, 2015.  (photo credit: AFP PHOTO / MENAHEM KAHANA)
An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man and his dressed-up child read the book of Esther at a synagogue in the Israeli city of Bnei Brak on March 4, 2015. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO / MENAHEM KAHANA)
Dressed up Israelis take part in a parade during the festivities of the Jewish Purim festival on March 5, 2015 in the central Israeli city of Netanya. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ)
Dressed up Israelis take part in a parade during the festivities of the Jewish Purim festival on March 5, 2015 in the central Israeli city of Netanya. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ)
Israelis dressed up in costumes celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim on the streets of the Jewish settlement of Efrat, West Bank, on March 5, 2015. (photo credit: Gershon Elinson/Flash90)
Israelis dressed up in costumes celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim on the streets of the Jewish settlement of Efrat, West Bank, on March 5, 2015. (photo credit: Gershon Elinson/Flash90)
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