This year, St. Patrick's Day and the Jewish holiday Purim fall on the same day in March. While both holidays involve a copious amount of alcohol, St. Patrick’s Day participants wear (and imbibe) the color green while Purim celebrants adorn themselves in costumes and eat triangle-shaped cookies.
Celebrating Purim means celebrating the story of Esther, a Jewish woman that hid her identity to marry the King of Persia and convinced him to not kill the Jewish people, as his top advisor had planned. To celebrate, we wear costumes, get a little schwastey, and re-enact the story through a play called the Purim Spiel.
Purim is a more recently added holiday (compared to other Jewish holidays) and its very existence has caused some debate. According to a Haaretz article titled “Why Jews Dress up for Purim”, it was previously the one day of the year that the Rabbis permitted cross-dressing. In a blog post by Hey Alma, a bar in Chicago has claimed the full spirit of Purim by holding a Purim Spiel Drag Show.
(Can you hear my little queer, Jewish heart screaming in joy?)
Growing up Jewish meant I got to have two costume parades, one in October for Halloween and one in the spring at Hebrew School for Purim. As someone that loves dressing up in costume, I was a lucky kid.
As a queer person, I often feel that dressing in costume on holidays when everyone around me is dressing up too, are the most freeing times. Growing up, even just wearing “normal feminine clothes'' felt like a costume. For a lot of my childhood, I refused to wear dresses and wanted to mostly wear t-shirts and athletic clothes. On Halloween and Purim, I’m not the only one donning a “costume” and no one is pretending to be “normal”.
When I added “sewist” to my resume in 2019, I was still wary to venture into the world of garment sewing, as I was mostly sewing outdoor gear. The beginner garment projects often involve skirts and dresses, with femme words and designs at the forefront. When I joined Threaded Together in 2020, my interest in garment sewing piqued, meeting other sewists with all different styles and presentations, and a lot of homemade clothes!
At Threaded Together, we know how important clothing is for expression and feeling true to one’s self. We are dedicated to making sewing accessible for everyone, not just femme presenting folks.
Whether you are celebrating Purim or not, we hope that you are wearing clothes that feel truly you and make your heart happy. And if you’d like to start your own garment sewing adventures, come join us at Create + Connect (our free open studio time) from 5:30-7:30 pm on Wednesdays for adults and 3-5 pm on Thursdays for teens.
Eanet, L (2020, March 9) Drag Performers Turn Purim Into A Queer Joy Extravaganza. Hey Alma. https://www.heyalma.com/drag-performers-turn-purim-into-a-queer-joy-extravaganza/
Gilad, E (2019, March 20) Why Do Jews Dress up for Purim? Haaretz. https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-why-do-jews-dress-up-for-purim-1.5330308?v=1646858215286