The festival of Purim is often considered the Jewish equivalent of the carnival. This early spring festival recalls how Queen Esther saved the Jews of Persia from annihilation, as described in the biblical Book of Esther, also known as the Megillah. This festive celebration, as with all Jewish holidays, begins at sunset, when the Book of Esther is read in the synagogue. On this festival, Jews are instructed to get so drunk that they can no longer tell the difference between good and evil, and there is a joyful racket in the synagogue as rattles are used. As the story tells that Esther hid her Jewish identity, Jews, especially children, celebrate this festival by dressing up. In addition, on Purim, gifts or food are exchanged with friends (mishloah manot), donations are made to the needy and a festive meal is offered.