Five days after Yom Kippur and 15 days after Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish holiday of Sukkot begins. Sukkot is an autumn holiday and is celebrated on the 15th day of Tishri, the first month in the Jewish calendar year.
Sukkot is also called Chag'ha Sukkot, or "Feast of Booths." The holiday is named after the sukkah, or huts, that the Israelites lived in while they wandered the desert for 40 years after leaving Egypt, looking for the Promised Land. The huts were made of branches and leaves; they were also lightweight and portable.
Sukkot is celebrated for nine days in most places. In Israel it is celebrated for eight days.
There are 4 symbols of Sukkot:
- Etrog (Citron)
- Palm Branch (Lulav)
- Myrtle (Hadas)
- Willow (Aravah)
The ceiling must be able to let some light through, so the roof of the sukkah is made of plants or wooden slats. Inside the sukkah there are hanging fruits and vegetables, like grapes, corn, apples and pomegranates. Some families eat under the sukkah and a few even sleep under it. During Sukkot, it is a tradition to share meals with family and friends.
The last day of Sukkot is called Simchat Torah. The Torah –- which contains the first five books of the Bible – has been read at temple all year and the final pages are read on the ninth day of Sukkot. The reading then starts again at the beginning of the Torah.
To celebrate Sukkot, you can help a friend make a sukkah, or invite someone to build a sukkah with you!
Author: Katie Ransohoff, high school student writer