Today is St. Patrick's Day and today everyone in New York City is Irish. There's a run on corned beef and cabbage at supermarkets and neighborhood restaurants, customers line up at bakeries to buy Irish Soda Bread, shamrocks and green carnations are sold at florists and everyone wears green. Today, would have been my mother's birthday. She was born on the Saint's day and since it was also Purim that year, she was named Esther in honor of the Queen.
Queen Esther was a lovely child who lived with her cousin Mordecai in Persia. Mordecai brought her up as he would a daughter. When she grew to be a beautiful, young woman she was taken to the house of Ahasuerus, King of Persia, to become part of his harem. (They didn't know much about women's lib in those days.) King Ahasuerus fell in love with Esther and made her his queen. Mordecai asked Esther not to reveal her faith as a Jew.
Haman, an advisor to the king, hated Mordecai because he refused to bow down to him and plotted to destroy the Jewish people. Mordecai asked Esther to speak to the king. She prepared herself by fasting and told the king of Hamen's plot against her people. The king's love for Esther conquered Haman and the people were saved.
Every St. Patrick's Day, my grandfather, instead of bringing a cupcake with green icing to celebrate my mother's birthday, would bring my mother a hamentaschen. Hamentaschen is a triangular fruit filled cookie that represents Hamen's hat.
Just like St. Patrick's Day, the motto on Purim is eat, drink and be merry. Gifts of food and drink are offered to friends and family and donations are made to charities. Whenever Hamen's name is mentioned, people boo, hiss , stamp their feet and rattle noisemakers.
Happy birthday, mom wherever you are and Happy St. Patrick's Day to all.
My cozy mystery titled Scene Stealer is available through Carina Press and wherever eBooks are sold. An audio version may be obtained at audible.com