The holiday of Purim marks the anniversary of God’s overturning the wicked plot of Haman (read the full story) on the 14th of Adar. According to tractate Megillah 6b, during a leap year Purim is observed in Adar II. However, during Adar I, the importance of the 14th of Adar must also be acknowledged. Purim Katan, “Little Purim,” as 14 Adar I is called, is therefore observed as a minor holiday. On Purim Katan certain aspects of the prayer service are omitted, fasting is forbidden and eulogies are generally prohibited. Additionally, it is considered praiseworthy to mark the day with a small festive meal (perhaps ordering a nicer lunch).
Aside from Purim, individual life cycle events may also be affected by the extra month of Adar. A child born in Adar during a regular year celebrates his/her bar or bat mitzvah in Adar II, if it occurs during a leap year. During a leap year, a bar or bat mitzvah celebration is only celebrated in Adar I if the child was born in Adar I. (This leads to the possible interesting anomaly that a child born on the first day of Adar II celebrates his Bar Mitzvah one month before a child born on the 30th day of Adar I, if the Bar Mitzvah year is not a leap year.)
With respect to yahrtzeit observances, however, there is a difference of opinion. The Ashkenzi custom, which follows the Rema, is to observe the yahrtzeit during Adar I (but there are those who observe in Adar II, and even those who observe both Adars). According to Sephardi custom, which follows Rabbi Joseph Karo, the nachala is observed during Adar II. However, the yahrtzeit of one who passes away in either Adar of a leap year is observed only in the Adar in which they passed.
This Treat was last posted on February 14, 2014.
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