Guest Author - Lisa Pinkus
This year, according to the Jewish calendar, is a leap year. Unlike our Gregorian calendar, which is based on the solar system, the Jewish calendar is based on the lunar system. A lunar year is eleven days shorter than a solar year. Historically, the Sanhedrin (High priests) would add a month every so often to ensure that Passover occurred in the spring. Today, we experience a leap year every two to three years in order to keep the calendar aligned with the seasons. This is one of those years.
The Jewish year is 5768, and in a leap year, there are two months of the month of Adar (My husband and I were married in Adar I of a leap year). The holiday of Purim occurs on the 14th day in the month of Adar II. Purim Katan (small) occurs on the 14th day of Adar I (corresponding with the evening of February 19th, 2008).
Purim Katan is a time to celebrate, though no specific observances take place. So, what should a Jew do on Purim Katan?
Begin to discuss what Purim costumes your children would like to wear for Purim.
Eat and drink – what else would we do? Invite others over to share a meal with you.
Begin to think about the Mishloach Manot you will pass out on Purim. Mishloach Manot are the baskets of goodies we give to our friends. Literally, it means “giving of gifts”. Now is a great time to think about the container you want to use, what treats you would like to put in them and who you would like to deliver them to.
Bake Hamentashen, the traditional Purim cookie with jelly in the center. You can eat some now and freeze the rest for your Purim baskets.
Make a special meal. Since it’s Purim Katan, make everything small – like little hotdogs in blankets, baby carrots and mini sundaes with pareve ice cream. Invite your family or friends over and share the meal with them.
Make crowns or masks that your children can wear on Purim.
Make a mitzvah out of it. Spend the day with grandparents or visit a home for seniors.
Read a story about Purim.
Buy a Jewish holiday CD and learn some Purim songs.
Make new Purim decorations or sort through your stored decorations.
Purim Katan can be an opportunity to teach your children about the Jewish communities throughout history that have overcome their enemies. You will only find Purim Katan on the Jewish calendar seven times in nineteen years. Find a way to celebrate it. After all, there are only so many Jewish holidays.