Sukkot 2018 will begin in the evening of
and ends in the evening of
Sunday, 30 September 2018.
What is Sukkot?
Sukkot is one of the major Jewish holidays celebrated in the beginning of the season autumn. It starts in the Hebrew month of Tishri and consists of a total celebration of 8 to 9 days. It is basically a celebration of harvest but more precisely is a commemoration of the times when Jews used to wander after the period of Exodus. It is considered to be an agricultural event as a thanksgiving for the crop harvest.
What is the Meaning of Word Sukkot?
The word sukkot or Erev Sukkot also spelled as succot, Sukkot is Hebrew means booths. Sukkot definition is also described as the feast of Booths as it is marked by the naturally covered materials small booths erection. In simple words, sukkot meaning indicated a hut covered or roofed with leaves and branches which is build near a house or sacred synagogues. Its plural sukkah also means a walled-off structure covered by plant overgrowth. It is used as a place of celebration for Jews to be utilized as a living area or dining area.
It is also known as the Feast of Tabernacles or Feast of ingatherings indicating a temporary shelter to not only eat but also sleep. The actual concept of Sukkot is associated with the temporary living of a farmer in a Sakkut hut for the purpose of agriculture and harvest.
What is the History of Sukkot?
The origin of Sukkot is related to agriculture as well as the Jewish history. It was among the three Pilgrimage Festivals in the time of existence of Jerusalem temples and the Jews of Israel used to perform the pilgrimage on Sukkot. In the Book of Leviticus, Sukkot is associated with the remanence period of Israel when they have to travel through deserts after being released from the slavery in Egypt. During their travel time, they used to eat and sleep in Sukkah.
What Day is Sukkot?
In terms of the calendar, the day of celebration of Sukkot festival is 15th of the Hebrew month Tishri. This usually coincides with the English calendar months of September to late October in the autumn season.
So Sukkot calendar holidays or Sukkot dates start on 15th of Tishri and continue until 21st of Tishri, the Hebrew month of autumn.
Why is Sukkot celebrated?
The Sukkot celebration has dual importance. In the book of Exodus, the word Sukkot is associated with agricultural events and harvest. That is why it is being called the Festival of ingatherings celebrated at the end of the year. In the land of Israel, Sukkot is the marker of the end of the agricultural and harvest era.
The other more significant reason for Sukkot celebration is its religious importance. It is mention in the Book of Leviticus that Sukkot is the following and dependence of Israelites jews on the will of God.
The total celebration period of Sukkot mostly varies from 7 to 9 days. By the Jews who live outside Israel and are considered to be conservative and Orthodox, it is celebrated for 9 days. However, the Jews residing in Israel celebrate the Sukkot festival for 8 days. The Reform Jews also celebrate the festival for 8 days. By some of the Jews in Israel, it is also celebrated for seven days as well.
What is Chol Ha Moed?
It is a Hebrew phrase that means “the nonholy occasion”. It is basically one of the weekdays of the celebration of Sukkot that encircles the intermediate days of Sukkot and Passover. It consists of second to six days and second to the seventh day in Diaspora on Passover. However, on Sukkot, the duration varies from second to seventh and third to seventh on Sukkot.
It contains the features of both weekdays and festival of Sukkot. Restrictions are present but mild in nature. However, the use of matzo and four species on Sukkot avoids of leavening products and dwelling in Sukkah are among the principal customs on Chol Ha Moed.
Shabbat Chol ha Moed as the name indicates is a Shabbat that occurs on chol Ha Moed and is celebrated like Shabbat. However, it is different in certain respects like the recitation of Torah, Musaf, Hallel etc.
The last day of Sukkot is known as Hoshanah Rabbah, it is associated with special Sukkot prayers in synagogues and also the completion of seven circuits in the synagogue. Also, it is a tradition to beat five willow branches on the ground. Hoshanot is recited and also there may be sounding of shofar after every circle is completed. The seventh day of Sukoot, Hoshana Rabbah, is a part of chol ha Moed. Pray services on this day of Sukkot are nearly similar to those on Yom Kippur and other high holidays.
What is Shemini Atzeret?
This is celebrated on 22nd of Tishri as a sequel of the festival of Sukkot. It is the eighth day of Sukkot celebration as the Hebrew word of Shimin means eighth. The word Atzeret means a day of pause or assemble and protector of seven days. Although it is a separate day from Sukkot, yet it is considered to be related to Sukkot as a spiritual holy day. In Torah, the description of Shemini Atzeret is always with Sukkot hence they are considered related to one another. A unique feature of the day is the celebration of Simchat Torah which distinguishes it from Sukkot. The day is followed by the last day of Sukkot that is Hoshana Rabbah. There is the usage of the sukkah as well as four species.
How Jews Celebrate Sukkot?
What happens during Sukkot contains a lot of events. The holidays of Sukkot are celebrated with great fervor and include seven to nine days. The day one of Sukkot holiday is like a High Holiday of Shabbat. On this day, no work is allowed to be done and daily tasks are prohibited.
The celebration of middle days also called the Chol ha Moed is not a restricted one. And the closing of the festival is marked by Shemini Atrezet which can last for one or two days depending on the total number of celebration.
The celebration starts from the building of a small hut and the Jews eat and sometimes sleep in this hut for 7 to 8 days. The sukkah is decorated and Jews start living in it from the first day. On the very first day of Sukkot, the usual activities are restricted as it is a holy day. There is holding together and waving of Four Species also called Arba ha’minim. The last day of celebration of Sukkot is Hoshsnah Rabah on which Four verses are recited in synagogues. So the first day and last day of Sukkot are celebrated with great pleasure and festivity. Throughout the days of Sukkot, meals are eaten and rest is taken in the sukkahs. It is a custom that only male member sleep there. Recitation of Torah verses is done on food especially the harvested Sukkot fruit and vegetables.
The Wearing of Tefillin:
Also known as Phylacteries, it is a small black leather box that contains written verses from Torah. It is worn on hands by male Jews during morning prayers on Chol Ha Meod. The wearing of Tefillin is considered obligatory owing to its mentioning in Torah for Four times.
The Waving Ceremony of Four Species:
The other word used for four species is Arab’ minim. It is considered an obligation that the Four species should be held and waved during sukkot according to rabbinic versions. The bases of four species are the four types plants which are mentioned in the bible and named as:
• Etrog Sukkot: the fruit of citron tree
• Hadas: the leaves of Myrtle tree
• Lulav: the palm fronds
• Aravah: The leaves from Willow tree
The waving ceremony dates back to ancient times when it was done around the temple. It is considered as a mitzvah mentioned in Torah.
It is a special ceremony during which people used to gather in the temple of Jerusalem on the first day of Sukkot for the recitation of Torah. However, it is discontinued now.
The Specials Prayers of Sukkot:
All the days of Sukkot involve the recitation of verses from Torah. Other recitations include:
Mussaf after every morning prayers in days of Sukkot
Hoshnat is the special prayer recited when carrying the Four Species in the synagogue. This is usually done after Mussaf or Torah recitation in the Morning Prayer.
This is a special prayer recited as an invitation to the exalted guests. There are seven exalted guests representing the seven shepherds of Israel.
Simchat Beit HaShoevah:
After the first day of Sukkot is passed, and before the last day, there are intermediate days which are celebrated without any restrictions. Gatherings are arranged in which music and dances are enjoyed, this is called Simchat Beit HaShoevah that means the celebration of the place of water drawing. It is the memory of water carrying throughout the Jerusalem pilgrim road.
Kinds of Food Eaten on Sukkot:
Being a festival, Sukkot food is cooked to have meals. Sukkot meal basically reflects the agricultural festivity of the occasion from where any kind of meals can be made as a feast of Sukkot, however, there is a special dish known as Kreplach. It is a stuffed small dumpling that contains meat, potatoes or any other stuffing. It is usually served with chicken soup but can also be fried.
Other things preferred on Sukkot are fresh fruits and vegetables and other things related to harvesting. There may be challah, soups, and other traditional dishes like kugels arranged in Sukkot booths.
Sukkot for kids:
Sukkot for children is an exciting festival being a kid-friendly Sukkot holiday. They can enjoy living in sukkot tent and sukkot information is provided to them by their elders. A number of activities can be enjoyed in sukkot shelter for 7 to 8 days.
Greetings of Sukkot:
Like other events and festivals of Jews when people greet one another, on Sukkot greetings and wishes are given to others as well. There is a Hebrew phrase called “Chag Sameach” that means have a happy Sukkot holiday.
What is Shana Tova:
Just like the other festival greetings, Shana Tova can also be used to wish others. Shana Tova in Hebrew term meaning a Good Year is usually used as a New Year or Rosh Hashanah Shana Tova greetings. It is said that our fate is written up to Hoshana Rabbah, so it is good to wish everyone Shana tova just like Jewish does after Rosh Hashanah prayers.
Shana Tova Umetukah is also a wish of happy and sweet year. Shana Tova in Hebrew letters is one of the most used phrases.
Shana tova greeting cards are available to give each other shana tova blessings. Shana tova wishes in English are also written. Also, you can get Shana Tova translation is any language you want to wish other happy shana tova.
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Happy Sukkot From TechMAG.