The story of Purim, which comes from the biblical Book of Esther, is set in ancient Persia. The holiday celebrates the salvation of the Jews from a plot of total annihilation by Haman, an evil official in the king's court.
The Jewish queen, Esther, rises to prominence, and together with her uncle Mordechai foils the scheme to stamp out her people.
The holiday is a joyous one and is known as a favorite of Jewish children. People read the story of the holiday, dress up in costumes, give gifts to each other and the poor, and eat festive meals.
Another custom, shared with St. Patrick's Day by coincidence, is to drink.
"It's a very happy holiday, a lot of celebrating, lots of food, good food, and a little bit of wine, a little bit more of wine," said Rabbi Shmuel Posner of the Chabad House of Greater Boston.
The two holidays are both held in early spring but rarely intersect — this is the first time they fall on exactly the same day in 65 years.
Management at the Butcherie in Brookline, a Jewish grocery, said the store had been gearing up for the holiday for a month.
Purim is over at sunset.
WBZ's Brooke McCarthy (@BrookeWBZ) reports: