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Aish, NJOP, and Chabad all state that it is preferable to fast until after the Megillah reading. I'm looking for sources and some background on that. Is it universally practised or an "Ashkenazi minhag"?

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    Gabiwab a belated welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks very much for the interesting question! It appears to have been answered already (see link above) and (from my personal research) appears firmly anchored – mbloch Mar 23 '16 at 14:35