Celebrations Around the World: Sukkot, 9th – 16th October

What: Sukkot is a week of celebration, with different observations on different days, eg on the first two days, Jews are forbidden to work. This is known as yom tov.

Why: Sukkot, as with many festivals at this time of year, gives thanks for the harvest, as well as praising god for protecting the Jews after they left Egypt. It is the only Jewish festival that does not commemorate a historical event.

How: It is traditional to build a sukkah, a kind of outdoor shelter covered in foliage. The sukkah symbolises the shelter given to the Jews in the desert, either in the form of clouds, shielding them from the hot sun, or the tents they lived in. Families spend as much time as possible in the sukkah over the week, eating all meals in it and sometimes sleeping in it too.

On each day of Sukkot, except for the sabbath, people take the Four Kinds (a citron, a palm frond, three myrtle twigs and two willow twigs) and wave them up, down, backwards, forwards, right and left. These represent the various personalities making up the community of Israel.

The last day of Sukkot (or two days in the diasporic communities) is given over to pure enjoyment and celebration.

We always love to hear from customers about their own celebrations. Please get in touch if you have observed any of October’s festivals and would like to share stories or photos with us!