Purim, Passover and a livelihood might have been easier for some readers to understand, but I just had to go for the alliteration.
It's 3 weeks until Purim and another 4 weeks after that is the beginning of Passover (Pesach). I mentioned writing a plan and starting to "clean" but what is it with this time of year? Why so busy and frantic? Why is it so expensive?
Well, this could easily morph into at least a couple of posts, so let's look at Purim first.
Purim is actually a pretty fun holiday, other than fasting the day prior. It's when we read the Book of Esther, about how Queen Esther and her uncle, Mordechai, saved the Jews of Persia from extermination at the hands of the wicked Haman. This is our kids' turn to dress up in costumes and eat lots of chocolate, candy and cookies.
During the day (from before sunrise, usually somewhere around 3 am) we fast. After it's fully dark we read the megillah (the Book of Esther written on a scroll) and break our fast. The next day we go back to shul and hear the megillah again. Then we send mishloach manot, packages containing different types of food to our friends. You have to send to at least one person but most people have a fairly lengthy list. You give charity to two people and sit down towards the end of the afternoon to a festive meal. This is one holiday that doesn't come with restrictions on things like driving or cooking or taking pictures which makes some aspects easier but can also make it more hectic.
(Edit at 6:42 am: I was going to write more, but I fell asleep! I have to get up now so you'll just have to wait for Part 2.)