By Lisa Rozner

CEDARHURST, N. Y. (CBSNewYork) – The joyous Jewish holiday of Purim starts Thursday night.

Because of the pandemic, celebrations look a little different but costumes, candy and a traditional cookie are all still part of the fun.

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As CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reports, games are being played out of a car, hence the Purim “car-nival” at Congregation Kol Ami in White Plains.

The costumes harken back to the days of ancient Persia, when Queen Esther had to disguise her Jewish identity to survive.

“It is a holiday of masquerade and masks, and we’ve been wearing masks for this whole year. But underneath the masks are things that maybe before were hidden from us, and maybe this pandemic has also given us the chance to see ourselves differently,” said Rabbi Shira Milgrom.

Traditionally, the Purim story would be told to a crowd of chants and cheers in synagogue, but many are doing it virtually this year.

The villain in the story is Haman, which is symbolized in the quintessential triangle-shaped hamantaschen treat.

“One says that hamantaschen – taschen in Yiddish means hat – so this kind of resembles the shape of the hat,” said Edan Leshnick, head pastry chef at Breads Bakery.

It is stuffed with fillings like apple, poppy, chocolate and halva.  At Breads Bakery in Union Square, the bakers get extra creative.

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“The first week we did lemon basil and tikka masala,” Leshnick said. “We did matcha dough and then made a matcha custard.”

At Breads they’re making around 1,000 hamantaschen every hour, and there’s a unique way they’re reducing the waste of dough.

“When you use a hexagon cutter you’re minimizing all that waste. You can even see from the indents of the table. We don’t have any waste around each piece,” Leshnick said.

Fleishigs gourmet kosher magazine gives families out-of-the-box ideas to celebrate, like deconstructed hamantaschen in a jar.

“We can put some halva inside to make it, just to make it really a party. And top it with another hamantashen,” said Editor-In-Chief Shifra Klein. “We featured these croissant hamantaschen from Patis Bakery and we featured these donut hamantaschen from Sesame Bakery in Brooklyn. So there’s really fun ways of celebrating Purim this year.”

It’s also customary to give gifts to family and friends. To limit interaction, the Klein’s left recipes and ingredients at their door for others to pick up, and a goody bag for kids. So all can eat, drink and be merry – safely.

And another part of the holiday is giving back, like raising money for a soup kitchen.

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The holiday goes until tomorrow.