What is Shavuot? Why is it celebrated?
Shavuot is known as the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost in English. It is a Jewish holiday that happens on the 6th day of the Hebrew month of Sivan (it might fall between May 15 and June 14 on the Gregorian calendar). In 2020, Shavuot starts at sunset on Thursday, May 28, and ends at sundown on Saturday, May 30.
What Is Shavuot (Feast of Weeks)?
The holiday of Shavuot (Shavuos) is a two-day holiday, starting at sundown of the 5th of Sivan and going on until nightfall of the 7th of Sivan (May 28–30, 2020). In Israel it is a one-day holiday, finishing at sunset of the 6th of Sivan.
Shavuot, likewise called Pentecost, in full Ḥag Shavuot, (“Festival of the Weeks”), second of the three Pilgrim Festivals of the Jewish religious calendar. It was initially an agricultural celebration, denoting the start of the wheat harvest. During the Temple period, the first fruits of the harvest were brought to the Temple, and two loaves of bread produced using the new wheat were offered. Also, this part of the holiday is reflected in the custom of decorating the synagogue with fruits and flowers and in the names Yom ha-Bikkurim (“Day of the First Fruits”) and Ḥag ha-Qazir (“Harvest Feast”).
Furthermore, Shavuot (Feast of Weeks) remembers the disclosure of the Torah on Mt. Sinai to the Jewish individuals and happens on the 50th day after the 49 days of counting the Omer. Shavuot is one of the three biblically based journey occasions known as the Shalosh regalim. It is related to the grain harvest in the Torah.
What Shavuot Celebrations
The word Shavuot (or Shavuos) signifies “weeks.” It praises the finish of the seven-week Omer counting period between Passover and Shavuot.
It is commended by lighting candles, remaining up the entire night to learn Torah, hearing the reading of the Ten Commandments, feasting on dairy foods, and more.
The Torah was given by G‑d to the Jewish individuals on Mount Sinai on Shavuot over 3,300 years prior. Furthermore, every year on the holiday of Shavuot we renew our acknowledgment of G‑d’s gift, and G‑d “re-gives” the Torah.
The giving of the Torah was a far-reaching spiritual event—one that contacted the quintessence of the Jewish soul for all times. Additionally, our sages have contrasted it with a wedding between G‑d and the Jewish individuals. Shavuot likewise signifies “oaths,” for on this day G‑d swore eternal dedication to us, and we thus vowed everlasting devotion to Him.
In old times, two wheat loaves would be offered in the Holy Temple on Shavuot. It was likewise at this time that individuals would start to bring bikkurim, their first and choicest fruits, to say thanks to G‑d for Israel’s bounty.
How Is Shavuot Celebrated
- Women and girls light holiday candles to introduce the holiday, on both the first and second evenings of the holidays.
- It is standard to remain up the entire evening learning Torah on the first night of Shavuot.
- All men, ladies, and youngsters ought to hear the reading of the Ten Commandments on the first day of Shavuot.
- As on different holidays, extraordinary meals are eaten, and no “work” might be performed.
- It is standard to eat dairy foods on Shavuot. Menus range from traditional cheese blintzes to quiches, dishes, and more.
- On the second day of Shavuot, the Yizkor memorial service is presented.
- A few communities read the Book of Ruth during morning services, as King David—whose passing happened on this day—was a descendant of Ruth the Moabite.
- Some have the custom to decorate their homes (and synagogues) with blossoms and sweet-smelling plants ahead of time of Shavuot.