Carnival-like celebrations have started for the Jewish festival of Purim, one of the most entertaining Jewish holidays, which this year falls on 8 March.

Purim commemorates the occasion when the Jewish people in Persia were saved from genocide by the actions of a woman named Esther. The story is related in the Book of Esther, known as the Megillah, in the Old Testament.

Jews celebrate Purim in a number of different ways, but one of the highlights is the reading of the Megillah in synagogue, where the congregation is dressed in costumes.

Children particularly enjoy dressing up as the characters in the Book of Esther, including King Xerxes, Vashti, Queen Esther, Mordecai and Haman.

During the reading of the Megillah, people traditionally make as much noise as possible whenever the name Haman is read, because he had wanted to kill the Jewish people after they refused to bow down to him.

International Business Times UK has compiled a slideshow of Orthodox Jews celebrating one of the more rowdy Jewish holidays.