Sukkot Festival

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.

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.

Sukkot 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.