“Fever is no sickness and Purim is no holiday.” So runs a surprisingly self-reflective proverb concerning the festival of Purim, the strangest Jewish holiday. Ostensibly the celebration of the triumph of the Jews over the wicked Haman described in the Book of Esther, at a popular level something much larger and far more complex is going on. Folk customs throughout history have always transcended the celebration of the triumph of Mordecai and Esther. Elaborate pageants, grotesque masks, drunken revelry, noisemaking, buffoonery, burning of effigies, costume parades, feasts with special delicacies, and every manner of carousing and merrymaking have characterized Purim since rabbinic times. A diverse body of Purim literature has accumulated, including drinking songs, short stories, parodies, and intricate plays.