Last Thursday, a week before Purim, many of my Jewish friends and Jewish co-workers began going mad.
They were frantically writing names of colleges on a grid marked on paper. It looked like there were 64 college names in boxes, and they had to write 32 of these names into other boxes, then 16 more name, then 8, 4 2 and finally 1 name in a giant box in the middle of this grid.
I asked one guy what he was doing, and he was frantic and said that he had to "bracket" something or other. Another person I asked was also in a frenzy and said he was also "bracketing".
OK, so they fill these boxes exactly a week before Purim. They do this early in the morning. Then from late morning to late at night, they watch college basketball games on TV. For 3 weeks afterwards, they go mad while watching these games. Someone told me that this madness continues on Purim itself and Shushan Purim. (well, maybe getting drunk makes people mad.) The madness occurs on Shabbat and Sunday, as well. The madness lasts about 3 weeks, which means that it lasts from a week before Purim to a bit over a week after Purim.
Is there something about Purim or Adar Sheni that makes people mad to the point that they have to "bracket"?
Note - this madness seems to happen only in USA, for some reason.