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Jewish children in Brooklyn dress up in colorful costumes as they celebrate festival of Purim

Jewish people living in Brooklyn dressed up to celebrate the festival of Purim on Thursday night.

The festival commemorates the survival of the Jewish people who had been marked for death in ancient Persia. 

One custom is to drink until you cannot distinguish between the story's hero and its villain.

In Israel, even adults go to work wearing costumes and dress up to go to the synagogue.

This year, some services in New York City were held outside or under tents and heat lamps as the coronavirus has led to many religious gatherings being held in limited numbers. 

Last March, as coronavirus struck the Big Apple, doctors began to see an exponential rise in daily cases in the Orthodox Jewish propelled by communal gatherings for Purim

Orthodox communities in Borough Park, Crown Heights and Williamsburg, three neighborhoods with large Hasidic populations, were hit particularly hard as the pandemic first hit the United States last March.

Purim-related parties coupled with heavy drinking saw the virus spread rapidly coming before restrictions were put in place. 

Children in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York celebrate the festival of Purim which began at sunset on Thursday evenging

Pirates appeared to be a popular theme this year as kids appeared to relish the chance to dress more informally than normal

One little girl seemed to enjoy dressing up together with a beard as she followed in her father's footsteps 

One youngsters looked to be dressed up like a rocket man with a creatively arranged costume as he walked the streets 

A couple of boys grabbed hold of their swords and stuck a pose as they had fun on Thursday night 

Celebrations this year are due to be more reserved due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic

Children in religious communities such as those in Brooklyn are allowed to dress up for school and attend costume parties. 

The festival is celebrated on the 14th of the Hebrew month Adar and it widely believed to be the most joyous day on the Jewish calendar.

Aside from dressing up Jewish people celebrate by listening to the Book of Esther which tells the story of a Hebrew woman in Persia, Esther, who becomes queen of Persia and thwarts a genocide of her people. 

The plot was discovered by Esther, who helped to defeat the evil advisor to the Persian king, Haman. 

This boy seemed to enjoy dressing up as photographer as he came face to face with our own snapper on the street!

It's popular for children to dress up like royalty with the story of Purim revolving around a king and queen 

Two kids managed to pull off the police officer look to perfection as they strolled through Williamsburg with their father 

Kids of all ages dress up for the festival. One girl was dressed as a witch while their siblings looked to be a fox and a clown 

Two boys were caught crossing the street as they carried the heads to their bear costumes in their hands 

An all out pretend battle between royalty and pirates with plastic swords appeared to break out on the streets of Williamsburg

One youngster showed off their costume as they dressed up as a fox 

One little boy held out his sword as he mischievously marched through Williamsburg on Thursday evening

Probably the best explanation as to why costumes are worn on Purim is because Esther masqueraded as a non-Jew and dressed up as a queen to unveil the plot against her people.

The story forms the core of the Jewish festival of Purim, during which it is read aloud twice: once in the evening and again the following morning.    

The evening before Purim, Jewish people do not typically eat or drink, but during the festival they enjoy a lavish feast together with wine. 

Drunkenness is usually discouraged by Jewish law but it is considered a mitzvah - religious duty - to drink alcohol on Purim although followers are still expected to perform all other duties of the festival. 

A special food is also eaten for the Jewish holidays including hamantaschen, a sweet three-cornered pastry filled with poppy seeds or jam. 

According to the tale, Haman's ears were cut off as a part of his punishment. The cookies eaten on Purim, called Humentaschen, translate to 'ears of Haman'. 

In previous years, the mood has been far more jovial with excited parents and children all taking part in the religious celebration dressed up as cowboys, princesses, and mad scientists as they headed to synagogue for parties and prayer services. 

A Rabbi reads from the Book of Ester to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim in Brooklyn

A woman follows along with the reading of the Book of Ester to celebrate the Jewish holiday upon which the festival is based

Tzipora Laub, left, speaks to her father through a window as people celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim in Brooklyn

Eliyahu Jacoby, 6, dresses as a Power Ranger as he prepared to listen to a special service to celebrate the holiday 

This year, many services are taking place in outdoor tents due to the coronavirus pandemic 

Aaron Laub wears a Viking costume as he prepared to listen to the Book of Esther at a Purim service in Brooklyn

A man reads from the Megillah (scroll) of Esther as his children follow along 

Two girls dress up convincingly as bakers as they celebrated Purim in Williamsburg on Thursday evening 

The regal theme runs throughout many of the costumes seen during the Purim celebrations 

A man is pictured walking quickly across the street in Williamsburg just before sunset when the festival starts 

A Jewish man can be seen walking with his children while wearing at  shtreimel, a fur hat worn by some Jewish men

As the sun sets the festival begins. A religious Jewish man's top hat and beard are silhouetted against the dusk sky

THE MEANING BEHING THE STORY OF PURIM 

The Jewish holiday Purim commemorates the salvation of the Jewish people in the ancient Persian Empire from a plot intended to wipe them out.

The story, which is recorded in the Biblical Book of Esther, tells the tale of how an advisor to King Ahasuerus named Haman planned to kill all the Jews, only for his wicked plot to be thwarted by the king's wife Esther and her adoptive father Mordecai. 

Haman had selected a day on which he would annihilate the entire Jewish population and had sent out a decree bearing the King's seal, ordering that every Jewish man, woman and child be killed.

But Esther - who had been chosen as Ahasuerus's wife by taking part in a beauty contest and concealing the fact she was Jewish - later convinced the King to send out a new decree allowing the Jews to rise up and defend themselves - thus saving their lives. 

The story is read out in synagogues while children traditionally get dressed up as Esther, or the King.

In the synagogue they are given football rattles and noisemakers to drown out Haman's name.

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