Noise-making upon Mention of Haman's Name
There is a special atmosphere in the synagogue during the
Megillah reading. Many of the worshippers bring their own kosher
Megillot [scrolls], written on parchment, in strict accordance
with halakhah - for fear that otherwise, they might miss a word
or two of the reading; they can thus supply the missing word
silently from their own Megillah, fulfilling the mitzvah
[precept] of hearing it in its entirety.
Children in various disguises grasp all kinds of noise-
making utensils, sticks, rattles, Purim pistols and so on, and
begin to drown out the name of Haman whenever the reader
pronounces the name. Sticks are beaten, rattles are waved, and
ear-splitting explosive noises come from the Purim pistols. The
tremendous tumult adds to the general joy and gaiety. The reader
waits until the noise dies down in order to continue the
Megillah reading until the next `Haman".
Another custom was to write Haman's name on one's shoe soles
and to stamp one's feet until the oppressor's name was erased.
The custom of making a noise when Haman's name is mentioned
is very ancient and widespread throughout the Jewish Diasporas.
Some strict rabbis did ban the custom, since it disturbs the
reading of the Megillah, but the festive Purim atmosphere
triumphed and the custom became deeply rooted in Purim folklore.