When is Shavuot 2024?
Many American Jews celebrate Shavuot, which is the second of three main Jewish festivals that concentrate on historical and agricultural importance. Shavuot follows Passover by 50 days. It happens on the sixth day of the month of Sivan in the Jewish calendar.
It is also recognized as Festival of Week or Festival of Harvest as it initially considered the end of the seven weeks of the Passover barley harvest and the start of the wheat harvest. At one period, Jewish men were supposed to bring their first bunch of barley as a thanksgiving offering to the Temple in Jerusalem.
After a period of Jewish slavery in Egypt, Shavuot observed Moses' return from "Mount of the Sinai" with two stone tablets, including "Ten Commandments." These commandments are the most necessary laws of Judaism. Therefore, Shavuot is also known as the Feast of Laws.
Is Shavuot a national holiday in the US?
Shavuot is not a national public holiday in the United States. All the organizations, businesses, stores, restaurants, banks remain open on this day. Some Jewish people may use their annual vacation around this point of the year.
How do People Celebrate Shavuot?
Many Jewish communities in the United States follow unique customs on Shavuot. These activities include reading Ruth's book or staying up all night to study the Torah. Many Jewish people also eat dairy foods during the Shavuot. Many houses decorated with various plants, including flowering. On this day, specific prayers are offered and lits candles. Jewish confirmation may also occur at this time of year.
Some Jewish people take their annual holidays during this time of the year, so they are not required to work on the Shavuot. Some sources state that, according to Jewish custom, no work is allowed on Shavuot except for cooking, baking, transferring fires, and carrying objects or equipment.
Facts related to Shavuot
- It is customary on Shavuot to decorate and illuminate the Synagogue and the house with flowers and green plants. It is in memory of the foliage around Mount Sinai.
- On Shavuot, it is common to eat milk products. Many Jewish homes replace the usual meat/chicken dinner with a celebration of milk products, including cheesecakes, cheeses, blintzes, and ice cream. This tradition commemorates the acts of the children of Israel in Sinai. After obtaining the Law, they understood that their dishes are no longer kosher, which are used for milk and meat. They were also required to teach on intricate details of ritual slaughter (Shechitah). By reducing these, they opted to eat only milk products.
- It is compulsory in Orthodox and some traditional communities to participate in Bible/Jewish law teachings on the eve of Shavuot and overnight. It is to accept the Torah for their generation. In Jerusalem, many people learn all night until dawn and later walk on the western wall at sunrise and pray for the day around 5-8 am. After this, they go home for a hearty festive breakfast and then go to sleep for the rest of the morning.
- The book of Ruth is explained in the Synagogue on the morning of Shavuot. Ruth turned into Judaism, and it is her descendant David, who became king in Israel. Ruth's book shows that achieving high status in Judaism is neither ethnic nor genetic.
It is common to wear new clothes at Shavuot. In seven weeks (Omer), before the Shavuot, people refrain from purchasing major clothing items.
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