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Purim, the holiday celebrating the miraculous salvation of the Jews and the thwarting of Haman's genocidal plot, starts Saturday night and runs through Monday.
Some of the events taking place nationwide, free or almost free, are listed below.
Holon: The Adloyada carnival on Sunday from 12 noon marches from Rehov Sokolow, along Rehov Weizmann to City Hall, where a dancing party, performances, circus shows, fireworks and more will entertain the crowd.
This year's Adloyada bears the "States and Nations" theme and 4,500 participants from Israel and abroad will have the chance to learn about other nations' traditions.
Jerusalem: The central celebration in the capital, "Go Wild on Hillel," will be held on Monday from 4 to 11 p.m. on Rehov Hillel, with a Venetian masquerade including Italian street theater, clowns, parades, creative workshops and much more. An evening performance by the band Hadag Nahash will launch a dancing party and a costumes contest.
Also on Monday, from 11:45 a.m. to 3 p.m., "Purim Carnival in the Jerusalem Theater Castle" will feature a colorful celebration for all the family with theatrical performances, dancing, musical and comedy shows and art workshops for children. A minor entrance fee of NIS 10 per participant will be charged.
At the Israel Museum, Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Monday from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., children can take part in creative workshops in the spirit of the holiday and a costume competition inspired by the Dada and the Surrealist movements in contemporary art. There will also be a street orchestra with clowns. The prize for the competition winner is a plane ticket for one person to a destination in Europe. For further details: (02) 677-1302.
Mini-Israel, near Latrun, starts its Purim Festival on Friday (10 to 2) with a carnival, workshops, quizzes with prizes and more. The park will be open from Saturday to Monday from 10 to 6 and will host performances, bumper cars, and a bouncy castle. Admission for adults is the usual NIS 65, free for children in costume. For further information: (08) 913-0010/00.
Tel Aviv: The traditional Adloyada in the Hatikva neighborhood, Sunday from 1:30. Students from the Yoram Levinstein Acting School together with local theater groups will orchestrate this year's parade, ending at a central stage with performances.
For those who cannot wait, another Adloyada will be held on Saturday at 1 p.m. in the Ramat Aviv neighborhood.
The Tel Aviv Museum invites children to design and create costumes and outfits inspired by familiar fairy-tale figures, from 10 to 2. Entrance is free.
Haifa: The central event in Haifa includes a Purim parade, performances in the holiday spirit, a costume competition, dancing, school exhibitions, workshops and a chance to go back in time and meet the characters from Megilat Esther.
For those who prefer to celebrate indoors, the Jewish Agency's Web site suggests some on-line activities in the holiday spirit. Surfers can find explanations about the holiday, quizzes, traditions and more at:
www.jewishagency.org, link: Jewish Zionist Education.