I've just started to learn the trop for Purim--I'll be chanting chapter 6, 14 verses, in three weeks (the king can't sleep; Haman thinks he's going to be honored but, boy, is he in for a shock). It's an interesting mix of major and minor phrases, appropriate to the combination of violence and goodness in the story. I have a CD of the whole section and cantillation--I'm trying to learn it phrase by phrase, listening to the trop on tracks 1-8 over and over and then matching these melodies to the markings on the page, rather than just memorizing it blindly from the example, which would be harder because I wouldn't understand what I was doing. I wish I had a little more time, but it'll be just fine, with some cramming. I also need to make a costume. I have a plan, but it involves...construction. I hope to be able to hammer and paint this weekend. I love that I'm learning this in between spending the rest of my waking life in the incorporeal world of pixels and fonts.
On non-leap years (unlike this one), my mother's yahrtzeit falls out on Purim. When I first realized this, a few years, ago, I felt uncomfortable being part of a raucous celebration, but did it anyway. I figured she would want me to be with my community rather than sit around getting depressed. After awhile, I came to see Purim as a celebration of her life, struggles, and achievements--and, of course, her sense of humor. And now I'll be always able to sing the story of the day in her honor.