What does the Jewish holiday of Purim and St. Patrick’s Day have in common? They both celebrate good luck and salvation. St. Patrick brings Christianity to Ireland and Queen Esther saves the Jewish people in Persia (Iran) from mass destruction. From the interfaith perspective this year Purim and St. Patrick’s Day almost coincide with plenty of overlapping partying. St. Patrick’s Day is Monday March 17 and Purim begins Saturday night March 15 concluding on Sunday March 16. Both holidays brighten our lives after a long winter and remind us that at the core of different religions and cultures are basic spiritual needs for miracles, goodness, earth energy and hope.
- Announcing the spring season with celebrations of the greening of the earth - a bold, new, optimistic energy.
- The drinking fest is not only part of the ritual fun, as it is expected and sanctioned by both religions.
- A symbol of 3 is central to both. The shamrock symbolizes the Trinity. The hamantaschen (a three-cornered pastry treat) symbolizes Queen Esther’s strength as derived from the 3 patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
- Wearing costumes and marching in parades express the spirit of the day.
We perpetuate the tradition of spring rituals, for example, cleaning out the clutter, washing windows and curtains, or forcing bulbs like hyacinths in our homes to brighten the space. These rites help us get rid of the residue of the negative energy of the winter blahs by moving us outdoors to fresh air, fragrance and light including plenty of vitamin D. Stress levels decrease because we grow more natural in the longer days adapting to nature’s rhythm as opposed to being plugged into technology.
Then there is the power of the pack with nature signaling us to flock together for safety and close relationships. Winter isolation breeds depression, illness and cognitive impairment. However, spring energy promotes cheerfulness and health to make us feel alive and alert with green power. We see our neighbors. In fact, the color green helps to promote healing as a visual cue for the mind.
And if you have slackened off your New Year’s Resolutions, luckily you get a big boost: March begins the Motivational New Year and you are likely to succeed now because the vibrational energy of spring will make it easier than the dark, cold days of winter. And the days are longer.