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With costumes and alcohol, jovial Israel marks Purim holiday

Book of Esther read on festival marking deliverance from Haman’s plot to destroy Jews in ancient Persia

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men from the chassidic dynasty of Vizhnitz-Kosov celebrating the Jewish festival of Purim, in Beit Shemesh, March 11, 2017. (Yaakov Lederman/Flash90)
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men from the chassidic dynasty of Vizhnitz-Kosov celebrating the Jewish festival of Purim, in Beit Shemesh, March 11, 2017. (Yaakov Lederman/Flash90)

The Purim holiday was celebrated throughout Israel on Saturday evening and Sunday, with costumes, parades, gift-giving, and the traditional reading of the Book 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 were set to begin their festivities Sunday evening, as part of a tradition that maintains that certain ancient walled cities mark the holiday a day later.

Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri wearing a costume, as is customary during a party for the Jewish holiday of Purim in Acre, March 11, 2017. (Yaacov Cohen/Flash90)
Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (right) wearing a costume, as is customary during a party for the Jewish holiday of Purim in Acre, March 11, 2017. (Yaacov Cohen/Flash90)
Orthodox Jewish women read the Esther Scroll, for the Jewish holiday of Purim, at the synagogue in Efrat, on March 11, 2017. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)
Orthodox Jewish women read the Esther Scroll, for the Jewish holiday of Purim, at the synagogue in Efrat, on March 11, 2017. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)
People wearing costumes and face paint pose as they take part in a "Zombie walk" in Tel Aviv as part of the Jewish holiday of Purim on March 11, 2017. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)
People wearing costumes and face paint pose as they take part in a “Zombie walk” in Tel Aviv as part of the Jewish holiday of Purim on March 11, 2017. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)
Israeli school students dress up in costumes Hanisuii school in Jerusalem on March 10, 2017, as Purim celebrated around the schools in Israel ahead of the Jewish holiday of Purim next week. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israeli school students dress up in costumes at the Hanisuii school in Jerusalem on March 10, 2017, as Purim is celebrated around the schools in Israel ahead of the Jewish holiday of Purim. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israeli school students dress up in costumes at the Hanisuii school in Jerusalem on March 10, 2017, ahead of the Jewish holiday of Purim (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israeli school students dress up in costumes at the Hanisuii school in Jerusalem on March 10, 2017, ahead of the Jewish holiday of Purim (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israeli school students dress up in costumes Hanisuii school in Jerusalem on March 10, 2017, ahead of the Purim holiday (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israeli school students dress up in costumes Hanisuii school in Jerusalem on March 10, 2017, ahead of the Purim holiday (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
A man dressed as US president Donald Trump reads the Esther Megilah, at a synagogue in Shmurat Oz Vegaon in Gush Etzion, on March 12, 2017, during the Jewish holiday of Purim. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)
A man dressed as US President Donald Trump reads the Esther Megilah, at a synagogue in Shmurat Oz Vegaon in Gush Etzion, on March 12, 2017, during the Jewish holiday of Purim. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men read a Scroll of Esther, which tells the story of the Jewish festival of Purim, in Beit Shemesh, March 11, 2017. (Yaakov Lederman/Flash90)
Jewish men read a Scroll of Esther, which tells the story of the Jewish festival of Purim, in Beit Shemesh, March 11, 2017. (Yaakov Lederman/Flash90)
An Israeli soldier receives Mishloach manot from a girl in Shmurat Oz Vegaon in Gush Etzion, on March 12, 2017, during the Jewish holiday of Purim. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)
An Israeli soldier receives mishloach manot from a girl in Shmurat Oz Vegaon in Gush Etzion, on March 12, 2017, during the Jewish holiday of Purim. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)
People wearing costumes and face paint kiss as they take part in a "Zombie walk" in Tel Aviv as part of the Jewish holiday of Purim on March 11, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ)
People wearing costumes and face paint kiss as they take part in a “Zombie walk” in Tel Aviv as part of the Jewish holiday of Purim on March 11, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ)
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish children wearing costumes march in line in the street during their school Purim celebration four days ahead of the official holiday on the Jewish calendar in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Mea Shearim in Jerusalem on March 8, 2017.(AFP PHOTO / MENAHEM KAHANA)
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish children wearing costumes march in line in the street during their school Purim celebration four days ahead of the official holiday on the Jewish calendar in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Mea Shearim in Jerusalem on March 8, 2017.(AFP PHOTO / MENAHEM KAHANA)
Israeli girls dressed up in costumes walk on Jaffa Road ahead of the Jewish holiday of Purim, in Jerusalem, on March 8, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Israeli girls dressed up in costumes walk on Jaffa Road ahead of the Jewish holiday of Purim, in Jerusalem, on March 8, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
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