One of the major jewish festivals is called Purim. You can read all about it here, but if you're too lazy to click, i'll give you a brief summary. well on second thought, its better if you read the story from the link because its too darn long. Anyway, the bottomline for purim is that the jewish people are narrowly saved from being killed and they celebrate it by fasting and then feasting. But purim also corresponds to the carnival time in various countries and so the main thing about purim is that everybody wears costumes and there are parades and all the stuff you see in other countries but on a smaller scale. Funnily enough the time of purim also is somewhere near that of HOLI. Strange. Purim is also Sede Boqer's biggest festival. The high school on the campus really goes overboard with a parade and all the kids dress up according to the theme they have selected for the year. This year the themes were: Arabian nights, Bees, Israel and Circus. This is the time of the year when you see the maximum number of people in Sede boqer, all doting parents and relatives of the hyperactive costumed kids. Here's a picture of one of the 'floats' but you can see others here.
But the whole show is basically run by the school. In keeping with the purim spirit, the students of the desert school also have a costumed party. This year there were a whole lot of creative costumes; some bought and others painfully made. the israelis take it very seriously, ie getting all costumed up, but there was a total carnival spirit that night. i went as some sort of mexican bandido, but it was a last minute effort, but the others were really fantastic. You can see the photos here
There was a contest as well for the best costumes, and the first prize- a weekend in the north of israel- went to Justin (US) who was so similar to Jesus Christ, it was remarkable. The second prize went to Sol(Canada) and Phoenix(US) (as Adam and Eve) who showed just enough flesh to make it credible. The third prize went to Moran (Israel) who came as an isopod, a small desert insect that burrows in the ground. The high point of the evening for me at least was the fact that somebody came dressed as ME!!!! I cant reach any higher status in this community than that!!!. Of course, to be fair, I took my own time in realising that it was me, but I was profoundly thrilled. (but lets see if you can spot who it is in that huge list of photos)