Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Purim Groggers -- How Did This Custom Begin?

There's no denying it. Purim is our noisiest holiday. There's a lot of hissing, stamping, rattling and "groggering" in the synagogue whenever Haman's name comes up in the Megillah. With all the different types of groggers on the market, I can't help wonder how this custom began.

So I Googled it and discovered that its origins can be traced all the way back to the 13th century, when French and German rabbis introduced the custom of writing Haman's name and the names of his sons on two stones in order to bang them together until the names were blotted out.

The reason behind this "madness"? It was their way of literally translating line 19 of Chapter 25 in the book of Deuteronomy which states: "Thous shall blot out the remembrance of Amalek."  


Once using stones went out of fashion, some people began to write the names on the bottom of their shoes in order to stamp them out (not a bad idea).  Others started using a rattle called a gregar

I just looked up the word gregar. It's a Romanian word stemming from the Latin word gregarius. Sound familiar? And so appropriate. I can't think of a more social, outgoing Jewish holiday than Purim. And NOISY!

Let the fun begin! Happy Purim.



Grogger Photo Credit

Megillat Esther Image Credit

Children Photo Credit