CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - With less than a week before Purim, Israelis are gearing up to enjoy the holiday festivities.
Newspapers and magazines are featuring recipes for hamentashen (called oznei haman --Haman's ears -- in Hebrew), the triangular-shaped pastry stuffed with poppy seeds or other fruit fillings.
Haman, the diabolical chancellor appointed by the fifth century B.C. Persian King Ahasuerus, plotted to annihilate the Jews in the dynasty's 127 provinces, stretching from India to Ethiopia.
The Book of Esther (Megillat Esther, the Scroll of Esther in Hebrew) tells the story of the beautiful Jewish maiden, Esther -- chosen to replace the deposed Queen Vashti -- who along with her cousin, Mordechai, foil Haman's wicked plot.
The Fast of Esther, observed the day before Purim, reminds Jews of the brave young queen who called on the Jewish people to fast with her and her maidens before she would risk her life by appearing before the king unsolicited.
Though God's name is never mentioned in the book, His divine intervention on behalf of the Jews is evident, especially in the precise timing of the unfolding events.
Israelis of all ages join in the celebration.
In the city of Holon, just outside Tel Aviv, the annual Purim parade, which will take place on Tuesday, draws more than 4,000 marchers from all over the country. The parade features elaborate floats, festooned with flowers and balloons.
Jugglers, gymnasts, acrobats delight the crowd as they march along the streets of Holon.
In Jerusalem, the Bible Lands Museum is hosting three days of games, workshops and special holiday exhibits.
Tours and exhibitions are geared toward specific age groups and languages, both Hebrew and English.
The museum is also sponsoring a Purim Ball to raise funds for the Jerusalem Branch of the Israel Cancer Association.
In every city and town, Israelis walk about in costumes, wigs and winsome hats, a welcome diversion from the reality of rising anti-Semitism and the serious challenges facing the nation.
Over the centuries, the festival of Purim has reminded the Jewish people that God is able to deliver them from those who would seek their destruction.
YNet news contributed to this article.