Shavuot, or the Feast of Weeks, is a multi-day Jewish holiday that began as a harvest festival celebrating the end of the barley harvest (spring) and the beginning of the wheat harvest (summer). It also holds religious significance as being the time God gave the people of Israel the gift of the Torah.
Dates for celebrating this holiday vary as it is observed on the 6th - 7th of the month of Sivan in the Jewish year. In 2020, Jewish Year 5781, Shavuot begins at sunset on May 28 and ends at nightfall on May 30.
As with other Jewish holidays, this is a time when work is prohibited (days of rest) in order to put one's attention and emphasis on what is being celebrated. Jewish people attend synagogue services that focus on special readings and study the Torah. The practice of studying the Torah all night is called Tikkun Leil Shavuot, something many do during this time.
On the first and second evenings of Shavuot, women and girls light holiday candles. Synagogues and homes are decorated with flowers and sweet smelling plants to honor the holiday. The typical greeting for Shavuot is "Chag Sameach" which means happy holiday or happy festival.
Special meals for the celebration of Shavuot center around dairy. Milk is a symbol of the Torah - a nourishment of the people. Foods may include casseroles, quiche, blintzes, and cheesecake. Find Shavuot recipes HERE.
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