Ahasverus, Haman and Esther, RembrandtThe story of Purim is told in the biblical Book of Esther and is celebrated today much in the way that the book delineates. But what happened between now and then?

Although not commonly known, there is textual, archaeological and artistic evidence of the celebration of Purim from ancient times until today. A document found in the Vatican Archives and the Theodosian Code both mention Purim. There is archaeological evidence that the term “pur” to refer to a lot was in use in the ancient Middle East. Famous works of art from the medieval period tell us that Purim was alive and well in Europe at the time. Some of the most famous American presidents referred to Purim as well, demonstrating that Christians in the early years of the United States were versed in the Purim story.

Read on to learn more about the evidence of Purim’s celebration throughout history.

  1. Rembrandt and Michelangelo
  2. Vatican Archives, 78 BCE, 350 CE and the Theodosian Code, 438 CE
  3. The Term Purim and the Black Obelisk
  4. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Haman