One of the most important aspects of the life of Israelis are holidays. The attitude of the local population to their traditions is particularly respected, since most of them are based on events described in the Holy Scriptures and historically experienced by the Jews. The celebration of holidays with observance of all customs unites the Jewish people and does not allow to forget the history of their existence, the meaning invested in every tradition, and of course, helps to grow the next generations with respect and veneration for their faith. On some holidays, I will tell you without delving into the subtleties, but giving a characteristic and an opportunity to understand the life and traditions of the Israelis.
A new day for the Jewish calendar comes with sunset, respectively, all holidays come in the evening, on the eve of the event.
Shabbat is celebrated every Saturday.
The Torah teaches that the creation of the world lasted seven days – six days God created, and the seventh day marked the day of holiness and peace, as the day when he finished his work on the creation of the world and called it Shabbat. In addition, according to the Pentateuch, God consecrated the Sabbath. In Holy Scripture, this is the only example of simultaneous blessing and sanctification. Thus, this is one of the most important holidays for Jews, the day of spiritual rest, when all everyday affairs are postponed, people cease to strive for material values and dedicate this day of rest and joy to the Lord. Meeting Shabbat, this tradition is rooted in the deep past. Its inherent attributes are a table covered with a tablecloth, two lit candles, a hala (traditional bread in the form of a braided braid), a kosher expensive wine that would separate the holiday from the everyday day. The Torah commands on Saturday the cessation of all work and rest, which is a reminder of the seventh day of creation and the proclamation of God as the creator of the world. When you are in Israel, you must remember that from the afternoon of Friday until the end of the Sabbath in the country – Shabbat.
Rosh-ha-Shana – in 2017 is celebrated on September 21.
Jews celebrate the New Year (Rosh-ha-Shana) counting the dates from the sixth day of the creation of the world, from the day when the Creator created the first man – Adam. In the days of this holiday, the Jews of the whole world, reflecting on the future, ask for peace, harmony and health. The sounds of the shofar (hollow ram’s horn), which are an integral attribute of Rosh-ha-Shana, call to wake up and do not waste your years meaningless, but to look into your souls, reconsider your actions, and become kinder, more honest in your deeds and thoughts. This holiday is another stitch in the life of mankind in general, and each person separately. On this day, the Most High considers and weighs our actions in order to give an opportunity to correct and reconsider what we are able to change and predetermine our destiny for the next year. From the day of Rosh-ha-Shana, the believer is given ten days for prayer and repentance in order to appear in Yom Kippur before the Almighty.
Yom Kippur – in 2017 is celebrated on September 30.
Yom Kippur “The Day of Atonement” is the most important of the holidays, which is the day of purification and redemption. On this day, as it is said in the Torah, one can neither eat nor drink, it is intended, that by the oppression of the body to strengthen the soul. This day is allotted to the Almighty for one purpose – to go deeper into oneself, analyze your life, your actions, honestly look at yourself in the soul and see everything that is not seen in everyday life, but what can be corrected that would be better tomorrow than you were yesterday. In Yom Kippur, there is silence in Israel, every Jew observes fasting and is absorbed in himself, through self-examination and prayer. On the day of Yom Kippur the Creator gives the opportunity to change the destiny, despite what is done in the past.
Sukkot – in 2017 begins on October 5.
Sukkot is a feast of tabernacles, a day of Jewish unity, joy and fun. The Torah calls this holiday “a time of joy.” It has several names – holiday huts, a harvest festival, the end of wandering through the desert, a holiday of humanity and peace. Traditions prescribe to Jews these days to live in “huts”, this is a reminder of the wanderings of Jews across the Sinai desert, that everyone should enjoy the gifts of nature and that material goods are not eternal. On the first and last day Sukkot is forbidden to work. These days the Israelis make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and celebrate the harvest. There is a tradition – treat. One of the rituals of this festival is the unification of four plants: a palm branch, a myrtle, a willow and a branch of a citrus tree (etrog, lulav, adas and arava), each of which corresponds to a certain type of people. These plants collectively symbolize the unity of the nation.
And ends the series of autumn holidays – Shmini Atzeret, the eighth day of Sukkot and Simchat Torah – the day of the end of the Torah reading. On this day in all the synagogues endure the scrolls of the Torah, and this ritual is accompanied by merry singing and dancing.
Hanukkah – in 2017 is celebrated from 13 to 20 December.
Chanukah is a bright holiday, when Jews of the whole world remember the miracle of the liberation of the Temple, the miracle of the victory of good over evil. The feast is celebrated in honor of the resumption of worship in the Temple of Jerusalem in 165 BC. According to the legend, after the liberation of the temple from the invaders, only one sealed and undefiled jug was found with specially purified olive oil for the ignition of the Menorah, which must constantly consecrate the Temple. This oil should have been sufficient for only one day of burning. But the miracle happened, the oil burned for eight days. Since then, the main tradition of the festival is the ignition of Hanukkah, which is very similar to the menorah, but has nine candles – eight, in memory of the miracle, and the ninth candle, standing a little apart, serves as an auxiliary, from it one candle is lit on a daily basis. And by the end of the holiday all eight candles burn on Hanukkah. This is a joyful holiday for both adults and children. In these days, a lot of light, lights, fireworks, as well as many delicious treats and sweets.
Tu B’Shvat – in 2017 falls on 11 February.
Tu B’Shvat (translated as the 15th day of the month Shvat) is the New Year of the trees, which in Israel coincides with the end of the rainy season. At this time, all nature wakes up. This holiday is marked by planting trees and a festive meal, consisting of plant products, those that give land. This holiday reminds that trees are fed and unacceptably broken and destroyed. The tree is like a man and a whole people, who protect their roots, their life, like the tree crown and their fruits – the younger generation.
Purim – in 2017 is celebrated on March 12.
Purim, a merry holiday, commemorated in memory of the miraculous salvation of the Jews from the cruel conspiracy of Haman, the adviser of the Persian king Ahasuerus. His wife was a Jew, beautiful Esther, Niece Mordechai. When Mordecai learned that Haman had planned to exterminate all Jews of Persia, he told his niece, and she in turn arranged a feast in honor of King Ahasuerus, in which she told him about the evil intent of the adviser. The touched king ordered the execution of his adviser, and issued a decree allowing Jews to repulse everyone who encroached on their life and property. So miraculously, the Jews of Persia escaped the plight of death. In Purim in the morning in the synagogue is read the scroll of Esther, and in the evening carnival processions begin. On this day, Jews are not only allowed to drink, but they are allowed to drink too much, so as not to distinguish “Blessing Mordecai from the curse of Haman.”
Pesach – in 2017 is celebrated from 11 to 17 April.
Pesach is the celebration of the greatest event in the history of the Jews, their Exodus from Egypt. These days, the tradition prescribes to gather at the Easter table and hold a seder-a ceremony in which the history of times of total deprivation and suffering is remembered. Every Jew should remember that he is not alone, and everyone should feel the taste of freedom, as if he came out of Egypt. On this day, it is prescribed to help others and accept money and food assistance. This is another traditional holiday, which unites and unites the Jewish people.
Memorial Day – in 2017 falls on April 23.
This day is a national day of mourning, a day of remembrance of those who died in wars and died in terrorist attacks in Israel. On this day, the whole nation of Israel mourns and honors the eternal memory of the heroes who gave their lives, for the existence of Israel. In the country, national flags are lowered.
The Independence Day of Israel – in 2017 falls on May 2.
On May 14, 1948, David Ben-Gurion read out a declaration on the establishment of a new state and proclaimed the independence of the Jewish state of Israel. Since that time, this day is the birthday of the Jewish state. In Israel on this day in the country there is a military parade and celebrations are held in all cities of Israel, therefore, there is so much events happening, no one has time to play at phone casino.
Day of Jerusalem – in 2017 is celebrated on May 24.
It is a holiday that is considered a symbol of the reunification of Israel. On this day, for the first time in many years, the Jews were able to regain the sacred places and touch the stones of the Western Wall, to the Wailing Wall. And today all the shrines that are in the walls of the Old City are accessible to all peoples and faiths. On that day in the synagogues they hold prayers and sing psalms. People go to the Wailing Wall to touch it and thank God. Also on this day in the city the March of Jerusalem is held.
Shavuot – in 2017 is celebrated on May 31.
Shavuot is a holiday that serves as a reminder of the Giving of the Torah. This is a great event that happened on Mount Sinai, when Moses receives from God the Tablets of the Covenant – the 10 commandments, as well as the verbal commandments that were written down and became the basis of the Written Torah. Like many Jewish holidays, Shavuot indicates not only an important historical event, but also a mark in the agricultural cycle. In ancient times this day was considered the beginning of the harvest season. On Shavuot day, synagogues and houses are adorned with leaves and herbs, with branches of trees and garlands of flowers. The scrolls of the Torah are decorated. There is a tradition of taking mikvah on the eve of a holiday and on a festive morning. On this day, a rich table is laid, on which first of all there are dairy products in memory of the fact that when Jews returned from Sinai with Torah they were content with milk products. On the eve of Shavuot in religious schools, students receive certificates, and on the holiday of young children they begin to acquaint themselves with the Torah.
The ninth Ava – in 2017 falls on August 1.
The ninth Ava is the national day of mourning for the Jewish people, the day of fasting. This day is marked by a number of tragic events, the main of which is the destruction of the First and Second Jerusalem Temple.