The Fast of Esther - The day before Purim is a fast day, commemorating the fast by Esther and all of Persian Jewry before Esther approached King Ahasuerus to plead for her people. Unlike the fasts of the Day of Atonement and the Tisha B’Av, but similar to other minor Jewish fasts, the Fast of Esther starts at dawn and ends at sunset.
The Reading of Book of Esther - On Purim evening and on the morning of the holiday, the Book of Esther is read aloud in the synagogue. There is a religious precept for women to hear this reading, too, and children are also welcome. The reading of Esther is a very happy social event: at each mention of the wicked Haman, who has become synonymous with all those who bear ill will toward Jews, the congregants and especially the children, try to drown out his name by shaking special noisemakers.
Holiday meal - After the fast there is a holiday meal with games and other amusements that lasts late into the evening. It is a religious precept to get drunk to the point of not knowing the difference between the hero of the Purim story and the evil Haman.
Gifts of fancy foods - As part of the joy of this holiday, Jews have a custom of preparing gift baskets and sending to their friends and neighbors, and to give money to the poor.
Costumes - This custom of wearing masks and costumes developed in the Middle Ages, apparently influenced by local Mardi gras holidays. Small children take special interest in this aspect of the holiday, and can be seen in the streets wearing
Haman’s ears - a traditional Purim delicacy: triangular pastries (resembling ears) filled with poppy seeds and various other sweet fillings.