The Jewish culture is ancient, with a rich heritage and history of its own. As a result, the Jewish calendar has a number of holidays and events to mark or celebrate various important occasions from the Jewish past.
Some of the important Jewish holidays and events are listed as below:
This is the main Jewish festival that marks the re-dedication of the temple in Jerusalem after its desecration by the enemy forces of Antiochus IV. The festival commemorates the miracle of oil that burnt for eight days as the legend goes. Therefore, the festivities last for eight days, and include the lighting of candles, fun, games, prayers, and traditional Hanukkah food for the whole family and friends.
ROSH HASHANAH - THE JEWISH NEW YEAR
Rosh Hashanah, the new year of the Jews, falls on the first day of the Tishrei month, which is the first month of the year as per the Jewish calendar. The message behind the occasion is that every devout Jew must introspect his own actions and strive to improve his own self, and submit himself to the judgment of God. Throughout the history of Jews, Rosh Hashanah has been regarded as a highly sacred and significant festival that includes recitation of special prayers during the festive days.
This is a festival of seeking forgiveness and atonement for your sins. The custom involves waving a fowl three times over your head that symbolizes the removal of our own sins to the fowl. The custom also includes recitation of verses from Job and Psalms before waving the fowl. People wear white clothes during Yom Hakipurim, symbolizing the angels that do not sin. The people are expected to fast and pray all day and remain in the synagogue in order to express their atonement.
The fifteenth day of the Shevat month is marked as the New Year of Trees as per the Jewish tradition. This day announces the end of the rainy season in Israel, when the fresh vegetation begins to grow. It is a festival that underlines the importance of agriculture for the old Jewish society.
The twenty-eighth day of the month of Iyyar, or the Jerusalem Day is a special holiday in Israel. The day marks the independence of the eastern part of Jerusalem from Jordan during the Six Day War, on June 7, 1967. The official reunification of the city was declared twenty days later under the laws of the Israeli parliament. The chief Rabbinate of Israel orders special prayers for the day. There are celebrations and ceremonies in various institutions throughout the country to mark this day.
SHAVUOT - THE FEAST OF WEEKS
This day falls on the sixth day of the Sivan month. As per the Hebrew calendar, this day marks the giving of Torah to the people of Israel on Mount Sinai. It is celebrated in commemoration of the day of people's acceptance of the Jewish system of laws.
This festival is celebrated from the fourteenth to the twenty-second day of the month of Nissan. All over the world, the Jew community celebrates the birth of their freedom from slavery and adoption of a national identity. It is marked by seven days of festivities in Israel and eight days among the Diaspora of Jews spread all over the world.
SUMMARY: Apart from the main festival of Hanukkah, the Jewish people have a significant number of holidays and events that represent the eventful history and culture of Jews.