Sukkot is a season of Joy. It is the seventh and the final feast given to the Jews by G-d. The festival is also known as “Feast of Tabernacles”. It is a Jewish harvest festival in which the Jews make their pilgrimage to the temples and offer a part of their harvest to the Lord. To know more about this Jewish pilgrim festival read the following lines.
The joyous festival of Sukkot is celebrated to commemorate those forty years for which the Jews wandered in the desert after leaving Egypt. During this period, they lived took shelter in temporary cover "Sukkahs". Sukkah’s basically refer to the huts made from the branches and leaves of the trees. Sukkot festival is a tribute to the shielding clouds of glory with which G-d protected the Jews while taking them out of Egypt.
What is Sukkot?
The word "Sukkot" means "booths". It is a Jewish festival during which Jews build temporary dwellings. Friends and family gather to have their meals and rejoice. Sukkot festival is known with names, like, Season of Rejoicing, Feast of Tabernacles, and Feast of the Booths.
When is Sukkot celebrated?
Sukkot is celebrated four day after Yom Kippur. It lasts for seven days. Sukkot begins on the 14th day of Tishri in the evening. As per the Gregorian calendar, Sukkot generally occurs in late September or early October. Sukkot marks a somber transition from the solemn holidays of Yom Kippur to the joyous days of Sukkot.
Sukkat is celebrated by setting up a temporary dwelling. A kind of a hut, or a synagogue, which is called as a Sukkah, is set up. Jews have their meals and rejoice with their near and dear ones in Sukkah for the seven days of celebration.
While building a Sukkah, it must be kept in mind that it has at least three complete strong walls. The walls of sukkah should neither be lesser than 3 feet nor larger than 35 feet.
Sukkah should be covered with a Sekhakh. Sekhakh is something that grows from ground, like tree branches or corn stalks. They are separated from the ground before being placed on the sukkah. Sekhakh provides a cover from sunlight. But the covering needs to be loose enough so that the stars are visible from within the sukkah.
As per the Torah, Jews are supposed to stay in the sukkah for all seven days of Sukkot. They must eat and sleep in the sukkah just the way they live in their homes. Sukkah must be treated as a holy spot. There is a particular ritual in which the Jews hold branches from three trees in their left hands and a citron fruit in their right and take seven rounds of sukkah. This ritual is performed as homage to the holy sukkah.
Jewish New Year falls in the month of Tishri i.e. the seventh month and it is in this month when the year number increases.
The Jewish first month is Nissan—in spring and Passover occurs in this month.
Jewish calendar adopted the names of the month during the time of Ezra, after returning from Babylonian exile. Hence, the names are actually Babylonian month names. The time from the first major festival, Passover in Nissan to the last major festival, Sukkot in Tishri is always the same.