Wednesday, May 23, 2007


[NOTE REGARDING MY RELIGIOUS HOLIDAY POSTS: I do these because I want to learn about religious holidays that I am not familiar with. For that reason, I don't generally include Christian holidays because I am already familiar with them, and I don't include all Jewish holidays for the same reason.]

Today is the Jewish holiday "Shavuot" (also called Feast of Weeks). [Well technically, I think it started at sundown yesterday.]

Shavuot marks the conclusion of the 7-week counting of the Omer (beginning the 2nd day of Passover and ending on the 50th day) and the day the Torah was given at Mount Sinai. It is one of the three Biblical pilgrimage festivals mandated by the Torah.

Agriculturally, Shavuot is connected to the grain harvest and commemorates the time when the first fruits were harvested and brought to the Temple. In ancient times, the grain harvest began with the harvesting of the barley during Passover and ended with the harvesting of the wheat at Shavuot.

Unlike other Jewish holidays, Shavuot does not have prescribed mitzvot (Torah commandments) other than the traditional festival observances of abstention from work, special prayer services and holiday meals. However, it is characterized by many customs including staying up all night the first night and studying the Torah; consuming dairy products like milk and cheese; the reading of the Book of Ruth; and the decoration of homes and synagogues with greenery.

Sources/More Info:

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