Sukkot 2017


Sukkot is a Hebrew word which means “hut” of “booth”. Sukkot festival, also known as the "Festival of Booths" or the "Festival of the Ingathering”, is basically a Jewish harvest festival and a "Season of Rejoicing". It is one of the three Jewish pilgrim festivals in which the Jews make pilgrimages to the temple and offer their harvest to the lord. Sukkot is in a few ways similar to the American Thanksgiving and so is at times referred to as Jewish Thanksgiving. Jews thank the lord for fall harvest.

Date of Sukkot 2017

Sukkot 2017 begins in the evening of Wednesday, October 4 and ends in the evening of Wednesday, October 11 .

Origin of Sukkot

  • This festival had its origin in ancient Israel when the Jews built huts in their fields during the harvest season. Such a hut was known as "sukkah" in Hebrew. The plural form of the word "sukkah" is "sukkot".
  • The Jews used to spend considerable time in the field during the harvest season and the specially built huts provided them with the shelter they required at that time. They also wandered across the desert and while doing so, they took shelter in tents or booths also known as sukkot.
  • This Jewish festival is called with many other names, such as, the Feast of the Booths, or the Feast of Tabernacles. As per the Hebrew calendar, the festival begins at dusk on the 14th day of Tishri and lasts for seven days.
  • According to the Gregorian calendar, Sukkot usually takes place in late September or early October. It begins four days after Yom Kippur.
  • Sukkot marks a transition from the most solemn holidays of Yom Kippur to the most joyous ones. The Day of Atonement shifts to the almost eight to nine days of celebration.
  • Sukkot is celebrated to commemorate the forty years for which Jews wondered in the desert before they reached their promised land.
  • While on the way to the Promised Land, some Jews lived in tents while other stayed in huts built from leaves and branches called sukkah.
  • As a tribute to the holy days of the past, sukkot is celebrated by setting up sukkah or temporary huts in the gardens of the house or at the synagogue.
  • People and guests gather to eat their meals for almost nine days of the festival and rejoice during the festival.
There are a few Sukkot rules which must be kept in mind while setting up a sukkah. 
  • Sukkah must have minimum three walls.
  • Sekhakh must be used to as a roof to cover the sukkah. The covering must be left loose enough so that the stars can be seen.
  • According to one important sukkot ritual, Jews hold branches from three trees in their left hands and a citron fruit in their right and walk around the synagogue seven times. 
  • festival is basically commemorated as a tribute to the protective clouds of glory with which G-d covered the Jews when he took them out of Egypt

Sukkot Traditions and Customs

Below, you'll find information on the traditions and customs observed on this festive occasion. 

Residing in sukkah:

 

During this festival, the Jews reside in a sukkah made of temporary construction which has a roof covered with branches. They even take their meals in the sukkah and treat it as their home. Some of the items included in the Sukkot meal are stuffed pumpkins and prunes. Prior to consuming their meals, the Jews recite the following prayer:

"Blessed are you, Adonai our God, Ruler of the universe, who has sanctified us with commandments, and commanded us to dwell in the sukkah." 
  • If it rains, then the above prayer is postponed until the weather becomes accommodating. - Taking of four kinds: On each day of the festival, the Jews take the four kinds – an etrog, a lulav (palm frond), two willow twigs (aravot), and three myrtle twigs or hadassim. These four kinds represent the personalities that are found in the people of Israel.
  • The Jews recite a prayer over each of the kinds and bring them together in their hands. Then they wave these items in all six directions (right, left, forward, backward, up, and down). 

Water-Drawing Celebrations: 

  • A special highlight of this Jewish festival is the nightly water-drawing celebrations and the songs, dances, and music in the streets that go on until the early hours of the next morning.
  • A number of festivities are held at the Holy Temple of Jerusalem, including the preparations for drawing water that can be used in the festival service. 
Recitations: During this festival, the Jews recite the Torah (religious text), Hallel, Musaf, and Hoshanot. The Torah is usually recited during the morning service.

Hoshanah Rabbah:

  • This festive occasion marks the 7th day of Sukkot. According to the religious belief of the Jews, Allah's verdict for the forthcoming year (which is written on Rosh Hashanah and sealed on Yom Kippur) isn't passed by the heavenly court until Hoshanah Rabbah. 
  • On the day of Hoshanah Rabbah, the Jews go around the ‘bimah' or synagogue reading table seven times. While they do so, the Jews make sure that they hold the four kinds in their hands. This is the time when the Jews offer special prayers to Allah so that he showers them with wealth and prosperity during the year ahead. 
  • An important tradition associated with Hoshanah Rabbah is that while the Jews pray to the almighty during the mornings, they beat a bundle of five willow branches against the ground five times. 
  • The first two days of Sukkot are observed as major holidays. As a result, work is completely prohibited. A special celebration just before the Sukkot is the lighting of candles by women and girls at night. The Jews offer prayers and have festive meals during this occasion. These observations are followed by Kiddush, a ritual in which the Jews recite a prayer over wine or grape juice so as to sanctify this auspicious occasion. 
Sukkot Calendar
Weekday Date Year Name Holiday type
Thu Oct 13 2011 First Day of Sukkot Jewish holiday
Mon Oct 1 2012 First Day of Sukkot Jewish holiday
Thu Sep 19 2013 First Day of Sukkot Jewish holiday
Thu Oct 9 2014 First Day of Sukkot Jewish holiday
Mon Sep 28 2015 First Day of Sukkot Jewish holiday
Mon Oct 16 2016 First Day of Sukkot Jewish holiday
Thu Oct 5 2017 First Day of Sukkot Jewish holiday
Mon Sep 24 2018 First Day of Sukkot Jewish holiday
Mon Oct 14 2019 First Day of Sukkot Jewish holiday
Sat Oct 3 2020 First Day of Sukkot Jewish holiday