Pongal Festival » Pongal in Israel - Succoth

Israel - Succoth

The week long holiday of Succoth begins on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Tishri. It is usually held in September and October. Succoth occurs at harvest time, and has elements of a harvest festival. Thus, it is also the Jewish Thanksgiving because it is known as the "Festival of the Harvest". Other names of this festival are Sukkot, Festival of the Booths, Jewish Harvest Festival and Feast of Tabernacle.

In Judaism, this festival commemorates the time when the Israelites lived in the wilderness during the Exodus from Egypt. As a reminder of the shelters used in the wilderness, huts are built and used for eating and sleeping during the seven-day celebration.

Although it commemorates a time of hardship, Succoth is also a festival of rejoicing. It is a time of rejoicing for the goodness and bounty of the earth and therefor food plays an important role in its celebration. The word "succoth" means booths and refers to the makeshift huts which the Jews called home during their 40 years of wandering.

Today, it is customary to build a succah in one's garden or patio for this festival and decorate it with fruits and vegetables of the season. Sharing a meal with family and friends in the succah is considered very much part of the festivities. During Succoth, a special ceremony is held each day to remember Hebrew ancestors and to thank God for the harvest. Families gather for meals and sleep inside them as well.

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