thread: Jewish holidays

  1. #1
    BellyBelly Member

    Oct 2008
    Western Sydney

    Question Jewish holidays


    Just wondering what the main Jewish holidays were and when they're celebrated. I know that
    - Passover equates with Western-Christianity's Easter
    - Channukah equates with Western-Christianity's Christmas
    - there is Yom Kippur and another one which is happening now or has happened recently

    I know there are websites at which I can find this out but this is more interactive.

    Last edited by montyp; January 15th, 2010 at 10:00 AM.

  2. #2
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Aug 2005
    Melbourne, Victoria

    I just saw this now so I'll give you a quick run down of them, from the start of our year

    1. Rosh Hashanah - Jewish New Year - 2 day festival that is around Sept time
    1a. There is a 12 hour(ish, depending on sunset times) fast the next day relating to destruction of the Jewish temple
    2. Yom Kippur - a 25 hour fast day that is 10 days after the start of Rosh HaShanah - it is our day of Atonement
    3. Succot - Feast of the Tabbernacles in English - it is (i think, naughty me, I should know this) around 5 days after Yom Kippur (i can't be bothered going and checking our calendar). A 7 day festival where you build huts with palm leaves as a roof and you eat all your meals out there for 7 days. The men are required to sleep there also, and in general you should try and spend as much as your time out there. The festival is a lot about happiness and being happy and appreciative with what you have. First 2 and last 2 days have the same type of restrictions as our sabbath, the intermediary days are less strict. The last day of this festival is called "Simchas Torah" - literally the Happiness/Rejoicing of the Torah. This is the day where we finish the last portion of the weekly portions, and start again at the beginning, Genesis. You celebrate by dancing and singing for hours in synagoge, men drink alcohol to be happy etc, kids get lolly bags. This festival normally ends up in late Sept or Oct time. These 3 festivals are the end of our major time of high holy days.
    4. Channukah - Occurs in Dec time. 8 days, were we light an extra candle each night to remember the miracle of the oil in the Maccabees revolt over the Greeks.
    4a. 10th Teves - another 12 hour fast
    5. Purim - the festival of lots - occurs around March time. A 1 day festival to remember the Jews being saved from the plan by Haman to destroy us all. On this day we hear the reading of the book of Esther is synagogue, give money to charity, give baskets of food to our friends etc to increase friendships between one another, and have a big festive meal. This is the other one of our 'drinking' holidays, as it is a commandment to be happy (but not to excess). The other theme for the day is hidden-ness (because G-ds name isn't mentioned in the book of Esther), so the children all get dressed up in costumes.
    6. Pessach - Passover - 8 day festival remembering the exodus from Egypt. We don't eat any leavened (bread or grain products) for 8 days, and have to clean our houses of all traces. We have a Seder on the first 2 nights (first 2 days and last 2 days have same restrictions as our Sabbath). The focus is on redemption from Egypt and the creation of the Jewish nation. This normally occurs in April
    7. Shavuot - Pentecost - a 2 day festival occurs in late May/June - to remember the giving of the Torah on Mt Sinai. Tradition is to eat milk based foods like cheescakes & ice-cream.
    8a. 17th Tevet - Usually July - a 12 hr fast to start the "3 weeks" the time of Jewish morning for the destruction of the temple.
    8b. Tisha B'av - not really a festival but a 25 hour fast (other major fast along with Yom Kippur), the day both our first and second Temples were destroyed, along with being a day of mourning as almost every major calamity has occurred on this day (outbreak of WWI, liquidation of Warsaw Ghetto, many pogroms etc). Besides fasting (all people over 12/13 for women/men fast, except if there is a medical reason - i,e. diabetes preventing this. Pregnant women do fast this fast unless their dr says it is dangerous). During the 3 weeks leading up to this, we don't listen to music, have weddings, get haircuts etc, anything to show signs of happiness.

    That's basically the Jewish year in a nutshell... Clear as mud??

    Any questions, feel free to ask.

    Oh, do you still have your question about Bar Mitzvah's?