Have you noticed that there are two different dates for Purim this year? If you aren’t familiar with how the Jewish calendar works, this could certainly be confusing.
The year 2016 on the Gregorian calendar is a leap year, where an extra day is added at the end of February every four years. The current year on the Jewish calendar is also a leap year, but there is a difference. On the Jewish calendar, leap years occur seven times in a nineteen year cycle. Also, instead of adding one day, a full month is added. So, this year there is a month called Adar I and another month called Adar II.
So, you’ll notice that Purim Katan (“Little Purim”) is February 23, 2016 and the “regular” Purim is March 24th. That is because a minor celebration is held on the 14th of Adar I in these leap years, with the normal full observance occurring on the 14th of Adar II. It is a fun time, so why not celebrate twice if you can?!
And, if you aren’t familiar with Purim in general, here’s the basic explanation. This holiday is not a mandated holy day from YHWH. This is a traditional celebration of the story recorded in the Biblical book of Esther where Adonai delivered the Jewish people living in the ancient Persian Empire from destruction. A plot was hatched by Haman to destroy them, but Esther risked her life to be Adonai’s tool in her people’s deliverance. It really is a wonderful story of submitting to YHWH’s Sovereign will even when it means risking everything!