On Purim when looking around I see children and even adults wearing superhero, disney and other fantasy clothing, on the other side I see all kind of costumes but often not related to the Jewish culture, history nor the story of Purim.

This made me wonder whether or not one should wear these kind of costumes.

When looking at the sources to wear masks or dressing up; pretending to be someone else, and the tradition of Purim shouldn't one consider a Jewish background when wearing a costume; because sometimes it seems we're joining the world in some carnavalistic event.

This made me wonder if it could be appropriate because on a day like Purim one hide's its identity, masks himself or dress up so that one isn't recognised. In order to do so one could become more like the rest of the world/it's surroundings, so one would go up in the crowd, and others can't make a distinguish between you and the others (in opposite from the normal commandment not to do so)?

In conclusion: What is or isn't allowed and why so?


According to this article:

The truth of the matter is that the real source is from the Roman Catholic and (to a lesser extent) Eastern Orthodox festive season known as “Carnival,” or “Carnaval,” which is a period of celebration and jaw-dropping debauchery before Lent (a period of many ascetic practices for Catholics), mostly observed during February. The original festival season of Carnaval had originated from the Romans and Greeks...who had celebrated it in service of the Pagan God, Dionysus... However, the most distinguishing feature is the masquerading, and of course, the masks which this period of celebration, perhaps most famously in Venice, known for its particularly extravagant masks and costumes for this festive period. Indeed, the apparent original source for masks and masquerading during this period is Venice...The custom of the mask seems to predate all Jewish sources which mention dressing up in costumes and masks on Purim by at least a few centuries. (minor typos have been corrected).

For this, and other reasons, R. Yossef Messass writes in a responsum (Mayyim Hayyim OH #298) that it is forbidden:

וא"כ לא לבד אסור הפריצות שיוצא מזה ... אלא ואסור עוד אסור חקות הגוים... וא"כ כל מי שיש בידו למחות ואינו מוחה עתיד ליתן את הדין

And if so, not just the indecency that results from [the wearing of costumes] is forbidden...but it is also prohibited a gentile practice...and if so anyone who has the ability to protest but doesn't protest, will have to give justification...

R. Messas quotes other authorities as well who discouraged the practice. He does not differentiate between different kinds of consumes.

Needless to say, as the popularity of the practice attests, his opinion is not the generally accepted one.

  • 4
    Obviously, the question is only for those who believe that the practice is valid in principle. – Shmuel Brin Mar 12 '17 at 7:14
  • 1
    The question was a general one which costumes are considered inappropriately similar to non Jewish carnival practices. The answer could be anything from all of them to none of them. – mevaqesh Mar 12 '17 at 7:22
  • 2
    @Daniel It reflects the view of a major posek. If the question is jut the most popular practices, the OP can just go walk around to take a look. The OP is specifically skeptical of the common practice, and this IMHO is therefore a highly valuable source. R. Messas notes that it does not appear that (many? any? of) those who permit are aware of the hukkot haggoyim issue, so his opinion which takes it into account is even more significant. Lastly, I explicitly noted that this is not the main opinion. In summary I fail to see how sources in context arent helpful. [cont.] – mevaqesh Mar 13 '17 at 23:22

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .