Sukkot

Sukkot, Succot or Sukkos (Hebrew: סוכות‎ or סֻכּוֹת sukkōt or sukkos, Feast of Booths, Feast of Tabernacles) is a biblical Jewish holiday celebrated on the 15th day of the month of Tishrei (varies from late September to late October). It is one of the Three Pilgrimage Festivals (shalosh regalim) on which the Israelites would make a pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem.

The holiday lasts seven days in Israel and eight in the diaspora. The first day (and second day in the diaspora) is a Shabbat-like holiday when work is forbidden, followed by intermediate days called Chol Hamoed. The festival is closed with another Shabbat-like holiday called Shemini Atzeret (two days in the diaspora, where the second day is called Simchat Torah).

The Hebrew word sukkōt is the plural of sukkah, “booth” or “tabernacle”, which is a walled structure covered with s’chach (plant material such as overgrowth or palm leaves). The sukkah is intended as a reminiscence of the type of fragile dwellings in which, according to the Torah, the Israelites dwelt during their 40 years of travel in the desert after the Exodus from slavery in Egypt. Throughout the holiday, meals are eaten inside the sukkah and many people sleep there as well. A sukkah is also the name of the temporary dwelling in which agricultural workers would live during harvesting.

On each day of the holiday it is mandatory to perform a waving ceremony with the Four Species.

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