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The Jewish holiday of Purim commemorates the Jews' salvation from genocide in ancient Persia, as recounted in the Book of Esther which is read in synagogues. Other customs include sending food parcels and giving charity, dressing up in masks and costumes, eating a festive meal and public celebrations.

Ultra Orthodox Jewish children look at a girl dressed as a caged leopard for Purim on a street in Bnei Brak, outside Tel Aviv, Israel, on March 16.OLIVER WEIKEN / EPA
An Ultra Orthodox Jewish boy wears a costume for Purim on a street in Bnei Brak, outside Tel Aviv, Israel, on March 16, 2014.OLIVER WEIKEN / EPA
Ultra Orthodox Jewish boys dressed in traditional Purim costumes play in the Mea Shaarim neighborhood in Jerusalem, Israel, on March 16, 2014.ABIR SULTAN / EPA