Photos of the Purim Street Party in Europe's Hasidic Heartland

Photographer Grey Hutton went to Stamford Hill to watch the celebrations unfold.

by VICE Staff; photos by Grey Hutton
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Mar 26 2019, 12:54pm

All photos: Grey Hutton

Purim, for the uninitiated, is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the saving of all Jewish people from Haman, a Biblical figure who ended up hanged on gallows he'd built to kill the prophet Mordecai. To celebrate, on the 14th day of the Hebrew month Adar, people donate to charity, exchange gifts, eat a celebratory meal, dress up and drink.

This year, Purim began on Wednesday evening of last week. On Thursday morning, photographer Grey Hutton went to Stamford Hill – which has the largest concentration of Charedi Hasidic Jews in Europe – to watch the celebrations unfold. He told us about his day:

"When I got there at about 11AM, the streets were fairly quiet – but before long the traffic began to build up, with families of seven or eight piling into five-seater cars, honking horns and playing Yiddish music. Then the trucks carrying teenage boys collecting money for charity began to appear. They have sounds systems strapped to the back with Yiddish music blaring out, so you heard them coming before you see them.

purim stamford hill

"In the afternoon things get a bit wilder after the guys have had a bit more wine to drink. Traditionally, the men are meant to drink until they can 'no longer distinguish between "cursed is Haman and blessed is Mordecai". There's a lot of dancing in the streets, also in people's homes, even in the synagogue. I actually got invited to a synagogue party by three guys dressed as Jesus, Buddha and a mariachi.

"The vibe on the streets is incredible – everybody's so welcoming and joyful – but it's the creativity and effort that's put into the costumes that I really love. Not to mention the cost: one guy I spoke to paid £100 just to rent his outfit."

See more of Grey's photos below:

purim stamford hill
purim stamford hill 2019
purim stamford hill 2019
purim stamford hill 2019
purim stamford hill 2019
purim stamford hill 2019
purim stamford hill 2019
purim stamford hill wine

@greyhutton

This article originally appeared on VICE UK.