Following the talmudic injunction that one must recite a special thanksgiving benediction on returning to the place where one was once miraculously saved from danger (Ber. 54a), the custom evolved for Jewish communities or families to celebrate the anniversary of their escape from destruction by reciting special prayers and with a ritual similar to that of Purim. (See: A. Gumbiner's note to Sh. Ar., OḤ 686.) These special communal Purims are called *Purim Katan ("minor Purim"), or Mo'ed Katan ("minor holiday") or Purim… (followed by the name of the community or the special event). In many cases special Purims were preceded by a fast comparable to the Fast of *Esther. In addition, on the Purim Katan itself the story of the personal or communal salvation was often read from a scroll (*megillah) in the course of a synagogue service in which special prayers of thanksgiving, in the style of piyyutim, were offered. Sometimes the *Al ha-Nissim prayer and the *Hallel were inserted into the ritual. The traditional Purim observances of enjoying a festive meal and giving charity to the poor were also applied to special Purims. (See Table: List of Special Purims.)

The Karaites observe a special Purim on 1st Shevat, in memory of the release from prison of one of their leaders, Yerushalmi. The exact date of the event is unknown. The followers of Shabbetai Ẓevi observed a special Purim on 15th Kislev, because on this day in 1648 Shabbetai Ẓevi proclaimed himself Messiah.


C. Roth, in: HUCA, 10 (1935), 451–82; 12–13 (1937–1938), 697–99; Y.T. Lewinski (ed.), Sefer ha-Mo'adim, 6 (1956), 297–321; M. Steinschneider, in: MGWJ, 47 (1901–21) ff.; A. Danon, in: REJ, 54 (1907).

List of Special Purims List of Special Purims

Purim of… Observed on Established in Reason for Observance
Algiers (called Purim Edom) 4th Ḥeshvan 1540 Saved from destruction in Spanish-Algerian wars of 1516–1517 and 1542.
Algiers (called Purim Tammuz) 11th Tammuz 1774 Saved from danger.
Alessandria Della Paglia (Italy) 25th Av 1779 Saved from massacre.
Ditto 2nd Ḥeshvan 1797 Saved from riots during revolutionary war.
Ancona 21st Tevet 1690 Saved from earthquake.
Ancona 15th Tishri 1741 Synagogue escaped destruction by fire.
Ancona 24th Adar 1775 Jewish quarter saved from conflagration.
Ancona 12th Shevat 1797 Saved from riots in revolutionary war.
Angora/Ankara/(called: Purim Angora or Purim Sari-Kiz) 21st Elul ? Saved from blood libel accusation.
Angora, called Purim Abazza 11th lyyar ? ?
Angora, called Purim de la Turquito 14th Tammuz 1775 Saved from blood libel accusation.
Avignon 24th Tammuz ? ?
Avignon 28th Shevat 1757 Escaped dangers of a riot.
Baghdad 11th Av 1733 Relieved from Persian oppression.
Belgrade 19th Sivan 1822 Saved from destruction during Turko-Serbian war.
Breche (Champagne, France) 14th Adar 1191 Chief Jew-baiter executed.
Cairo 18th Shevat ? ?
Cairo, called Purim Miẓrayim 28th Adar 1524 Saved from extermination.
Candia (Crete) 18th Tammuz 1583 Saved from collective punishment for treason, during Turco-Venetian conflict.
Carpentras 16th Kislev 1512 Saved from riot.
Ditto 9th Nisan 1692 Saved from annihilation.
Ditto, called Yom va-Yosha 21st Nisan 1651 Saved from threat of massacre.
Casablanca, called Purim Hitler 2nd Kislev 1943 Escape from riot and Nazi occupation.
Castille (Spain) called Purim Martinez 1st Adar 1339 Saved from annihilation following accusations by Jew-baiter Gonzales Martinez, king's adviser.
Cavaillon (Provence) 25th Iyyar 1631 Plague ended.
Ditto 29th Sivan 1677 Saved from blood libel accusation.
Cento (Italy) 12th Av 1820 Escaped from fire.
Chieri (Italy) 1st Av 1797 Saved from danger of war.
Chios (Greece), called Purim de la Senora ("Purim of the Good Lady") 8th Iyyar 1595 (or 1820)? Saved from death during Franco-Turkish war.
Cuneo (Italy) 5th Kislev 1799 Synagogue saved from destruction by shell.
Ettingen (Germany) 18th Iyyar 1690 Saved from destruction by enemies.
Ditto 29th Sivan 1713 ?
Ferrara 24th Kislev ? Saved from destruction by fire.
Ditto 18th Iyyar 1799 Escaped war riots.

Purims, Special

Fez 22nd Kislev 1840 Saved from destruction.
Florence 27th Sivan 1791 Escaped sacking and riots.
Fossano (Italy) 18th Nisan 1796 Saved from bomb explosion during war.
Frankfurt on the Main, also called: Purim Winz or Purim Fettmilch 20th Adar 1616 Expelled Jews readmitted to town and chief Jew baiter, Fettmilch, executed.
Fulda 15th Elul ? ?
Gumeldjina (Thrace) called: Purim de los ladrones ("Purim of the thiefs") 22nd Elul 1786 Saved from collective punishment for instigating robbers to sack town.
Hebron 1st Av ? Saved from collective punishment and execution by Ibrahim Pasha.
Ditto, called Purim Takka ("Window Purim") 14th Tevet 1741 Saved from annihilation by miraculous ransom money on the windowsill of synagogue.
Ivrea (Italy) 1st Shevat 1797 Escaped plundering during revolutionary war.
Komotini (Gumurjina, Gumuldjina) (Greece) 22nd Elul 1768 Saved from destruction during Turkish suppression of Greek revolt.
Kovno 7th Adar (II) 1783 Privileges of civic freedom granted by King Stanislaus II
Leghorn 12th Shevat 1742 Saved from destruction in earthquake.
Ditto 25th Tevet 1810 Plague ends.
Ditto 16th Adar 1813 ?
Lepanto (Greece) 11th Tevet 1699 Saved from destruction during Turkish war.
Medzibezh (Poland) 11th Tevet 1648 or 1649 Saved from annihilation by Chmielnicki's bands.
Morocco 13th Nisan 1771 Saved from annihilation.
Mstislavl (Russia) 4th Shevat 1744 Saved from slaughter by Cossacks.
Ditto 3rd Kislev 1844 Saved from collective punishment for alleged rebellion against authorities.
Narbonne 20th Adar 1236 Saved from riots.
Oran 6th Av 1830 Saved from massacre before arrival of French troops.
Ostraha 23rd Nisan 1734 or 1768 Saved from pogrom.
Ditto 7th Tammuz 1792 Saved from destruction during Russo-Polish war.
Padua called Purim di fuoco ("Fire Purim") 11th Sivan 1795 Saved from fire.
Ditto, called Purim di Buda 10th Elul 1684 Saved from massacre during Austro-Turkish (in Budapest).
Ditto, called Purim dei Sassi (?) Shabbat "Bo" 1748 ?
Pesaro/see also: Urbino and Senigallia ? 1799 Escaped damages of war.
Pitigliano (Italy) 15th Tammuz 1757 Collapse of school roof, no casualties.
Ditto 15th Sivan 1799 Saved from damages during revolutionary war.
Posen 1st Ḥeshvan 1704 Saved from death during Polish-Swedish war.
Prague 14th Ḥeshvan 1620 Saved from sacking and riots by protection of Emperor Ferdinand.
Ditto, called Vorhang Purim ("Curtain Purim") 22nd Tevet 1622 Beadle of synagogue saved from hanging for keeping stolen curtains.
Purim Byzanc (observed by Jews of Thrace) 14th Adar 1574 Saved from extermination.
Ragusa ? 1631 Saved from accusation of blood libel.
Rhodes 14th Adar 1840 Saved from annihilation.
Ritova (Lithuania) called Purim Jeroboam b. Nebat. 14th Adar 1863 Jew-baiter Count Aginsky died.
Rome 1st Shevat 1793 Ghetto saved from assault and fire.
Sa'na 18th Adar ? Saved from extermination.
Sarajevo 4th Ḥeshvan 1819 10 leaders of Jewish community freed from prison and saved from execution.
Senigallia (Italy)/see also: Urbino and Pesaro 15th Sivan 1799 Saved from annihilation during war by escaping to Ancona.
Sermide (Italy) 25th Tammuz 1809 Saved from earthquake.
Shiraz, called Purim Mo'ed Katan 2nd Heshvan 1200 or 1400 Permitted to practice Judaism after having being forced to convert to Islam.

Purims, Special

Sienna 15th Sivan 1799 Saved from destruction during revolution.
Spoleto 21st Sivan 1797 Saved from annihilation during revolutionary war
Ditto 7th Adar ? ?
Syracuse (Sicily), called Purim Saragossa 17th Shevat 1425 Saved from destruction for alleged treason by honoring King Alfonso with empty cases of Torah Scrolls.
Tetuan and Tangiers, called Purim de las bombas, or Purim de los Christianos 2nd Elul 1578 Saved from destruction during Moroccan Portuguese war.
Tiberias 7th Elul 1743 Saved from danger of war.
Ditto 4th Kislev ? ?
Trieste 14th Adar 1833 Leading Jew-baiter died.
Tripoli and Tunisia 25th Shevat ? ?
Ditto, called Purim Sheriff or Purim Kadebani ("False Purim") 24th Tevet 1705 Saved from destruction by hostile ruler, Khalil Pasha.
Ditto, called Purim Borgḥel 29th Tevet 1793 Saved from destruction during occupation by Bourgel Phasa of Turkey.
Tunisia, called: Purim Sheleg ("Purim of Snow") 24th Tevet 1891 Jewish quarter saved from natural disaster
Tunisia 15th Shevat ? ?
Turino 1st Av 1797 Saved from war and sacking.
Urbino 11th Sivan 1799 Saved from war and riots.
Verona 20th Tammuz 1607 Permission granted to lock ghetto gates from inside instead of from outside.
Vidin, Bulgaria, called Purim de los borrachones ("Purim of the Drunken") 4th and 5th Ḥeshvan or 9th–10th 1806 Saved from annihilation following accusation that the ruler had been poisoned by his Jewish physician.
Ditto 2nd Adar 1878 Saved from destruction during Russo-Turkish (Balkan) war.
Vilna 15th Av 1794 Saved from destruction during Russo-Polish war.
Zborow (Galicia) 12th Tevet ? Saved from annihilation because of blood libel accusation.
Family Purims
Altschul family of Prague 22nd Tevet 1623 Head of family, Hanokh Moses, saved from death.
Brandeis family of Jungbunzlau (Bohemia), called Povidl Purim "Plum Jam Purim" 10th Adar 1731 David Brandeis and family saved from accusation of having killed gentiles by poisoning plum jam.
Danzig family of Vilna, called Pulverpurim ("Powder Purim") 15th Kislev 1804 Family of Abraham Danzig author of "Ḥayyei Adam" saved from explosion of magnesium.
Elyashar family of Jerusalem 2nd Nisan ? Saved from death.
Heller family of Prague 1st Adar 1629 Head of family, Yom Tov Lipman, rabbi of Prague saved from death sentence.
Jonathan ben Jacob of Fulda (Germany) 17th Tammuz ? ?
Maimon family of Lithuania ? 1750 Grandfather of Solomon Mimon saved from death sentence for blood libel.
Meyuḥas family of Jerusalem 16th Adar 1724 Head of family, Raphael Meyuhas, escaped death by highwaymen.
Samuel Ha-Nagid of Spain 1st Elul 1039 Saved from death plot of conspirators.
Segal family of Cracow 1st Iyyar 1657 Family saved from drowning in river while escaping from pogrom.
Treves family (?) Shabbat "Va-Yeẓe" 1758 Escaped from fire.

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.