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.


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