The holiday of Purim is arguably the most joyous day of the Jewish year. Purim marks the time that Queen Esther helped save the Jewish people from being harmed by Haman, a confidant to King Achashverosh, who did not agree with the customs of Jewish people. (You can read a detailed account of the story here.) If you are approaching Purim from a Christian lens, it is helpful to know that King Achashverosh is referred to as King Xerxes in the book of Esther in the New International Version of the Bible (it will also explain variations in the spellings of certain names).
The Purim story involves violence and death, but Jewish families and preschools often modify this story to help children understand how one person can make a difference. When Queen Esther, a Jewish woman, learned of Haman’s plan, she spoke up and saved her people. Her courage is commemorated each year in Jewish communities, where people host parties, wear costumes, give gifts to family and friends, read the megillah (the story of Queen Esther), and offer tzedakah, or charity, to those in need.