The Jewish holiday of Purim starts at sundown on Feb. 28 and ends on March 1. The events, which are recorded in a scroll called Megillat Esther after the intrepid Jewish queen, celebrates the triumph of the Jews over a decree concocted by one of the Persian king's most trusted and nefarious advisers, Haman. In an act of self-sacrifice, Esther revealed her true identity as a Jew, and asked the king to spare her people.
Purim is a unique holiday. It is celebrated with costumes and carnivals, treats and feasts, gaiety and charity. But the most resounding aspect of the holiday is the emphasis on the powerful role of women in Jewish history.