Monday, March 1, 2010

Purim in Ghana!

As someone who wanted to be a costume designer almost her entire life, I take Purim very seriously. My costume must incorporate 3 out of the major 5 elements of a good costume. It must be witty, fear-invoking, somehow involving body paint, made from recycled (non-fabric) materials, or relevant to the occasion it is worn to.

It was clear that I had to be a Juju man. For those of you that don’t know, Juju men are voodoo witch doctors found throughout West Africa. This was the perfect costume for me for many reasons. 1. I love all things magical and mysterious, especially voodoo, considering its’ strong link to New Orleans 2. I wish I was a Juju man and I’m currently desperately trying to find out how I become one 3. I get to wear lipstick on my face and tell everyone it’s blood (that would be the fear-invoking aspect) 5. Juju man sounds strangely close to jewjew man, which is just very ironic considering voodoo falls into the category of hedonistic idol worship, a big no-no in Judaism 6. I got to run around with my mini tambourine gragger on a drum-stick shaking it like Rafiki in the Lion King! In case you were wondering, Rafiki was the baboon version of a Juju man, one more reason why he was my favorite character (not to mention the blue butt)!

Clearly my Purim was a huge success. Aside from an awesome costume, I got to celebrate with all my Ghanaian dorm-mates at our lovely Purim party hosted by the always wonderful "jew-unit," (three amazing girls who help me not disappoint my grandparents)… we even made Hamantashen and reenacted the Purim story… I was Vashti of course. Who knew being Jewish in Ghana could be so fun??


  1. Love number 5.

    Can't wait to see pictures hah.

  2. I saw some guys at the Times Square subway stop wearing wigs and odd clothes while dancing around in a circle. It makes a lot more sense now.

  3. next year, im joining your party for purim.

    as you might have guessed, im not the huge chabad fan, but where else can you recount the story of Shushan in these far corners of the world. amazingly, they didnt have groggers plus they opted for the rushed version where only a half dozen or so hamans were slowed down enough for the stamping of feet or catcalls. if your party seems like it was more fun. im partly to blame because i was lame and not in costume. id rummaged thru my pack and there was simply nothing amusing i could find to throw together, so in a half assed attempt, i tied a peasant scarf around my head, but was otherwise like all the boring adults in civilian get-ups.

    gotta give credit to the rabbis that made much more of an effort to come up with awesome costumes. one was wearing a rasta hat with dreads, no longer a foreign concept to chasids, thanks to matisyahu. the other man of the cloth was fully incognito, wearing bright orange hazmat coveralls, safety goggles and a hard hat.

    hamentashen were nowhere to be found, but they definitely were trying to observe the tradition of drinking far more than a single kiddish cup. someone in the kitchen with bartending skills was whipping up blender after blender of margaritas, mai-tais, mojitos and pina coladas.

    the day after, i went to explore chinatown and stumbled on the source of all the new years decorations. paper lanterns, tiger masks and all types of traditional asian gear. any of which would have made awesome costumes, but too late for purim. hey, theres always burning man...

  4. haha ya well Grandma would be proud... you at least heard the Megillah, which is more than I can say for myself. Although my impromptu purim play was quite successful if you ask me! A costume definitely would have helped you spice up your celebration, but you know me, I think costumes solve all problems, so really your purim could have been a lost cause.

    Speaking of lost cause, today i tried to explain to my ghanaian friend what a feminist is, and then proceeded to explain to him my feelings regarding modesty and the stigmatization of the naked body... like i said, lost cause. People already think im a pagan because of the palmistry book ive been taking everywhere with me, but this really put it over the top. If Im not careful I could very well end up excommunicated, or behind bars, because sodomy is illegal here, and Im sure a whole lot of other things I stand for.

    I guess I'll just have to wait to fully expose ( myself and my philosophies) at burning man, which by the way I'm definitely going to. I dont care how much school I have to miss, its happening!