Shavuot Programs 2022 – The History And Traditions of the Jewish Holiday

Shavuot is one of the Jewish pilgrimage holidays that falls at the end of spring or the beginning of summer. The holiday of Shavuot has other names. It is also called Pentecost, the Feast of the Seven Weeks, the Feast of the Harvest, the Feast of the Giving of the Torah, the Feast of the First Fruits, Ha-Azeret. In this article, we will discuss about Shavuot Programs 2022, its history and tradition as well.

The celebration is not only closely connected with the history of the Jewish people and Judaism, but also has analogues in the Christian tradition. When Shavuot comes in 2022, what is its history and traditions – we tell in the KP material. Shavuot Programs 2022 will be held on June 5, 2022.

When will Shavuot programs 2022 be celebrated?

The Jewish spring holiday is not as long in time as others. It only takes two days to celebrate. Shavuot begins on the fiftieth day after the end of Passover. Hence its other names – Pentecost, or the Feast of the Seven Weeks. In the Christian tradition there is a similar celebration – the  Trinity.

Like many holidays in Judaism, the holiday of Shavuot does not have a clear fixed date and is separated in time by several days. It begins at the sunset of one day and also ends at the end of the day, when dark twilight is gathering over the Promised Land. It is believed that all festive events come into force precisely at sunset, when the stars light up in the sky.

When will Shavuot programs 2022 be celebrated
When will Shavuot programs 2022 be celebrated

The holiday falls on the third month of the Jewish year beginning with Nisan and on the ninth month of the year beginning with Tishrei. The Jews start celebrating Shavuot in 2022 at  sunset on June 4th and end on the evening of June 6th.

History of Shavuot

Initially, the holiday of Shavuot – the Feast of the Harvest – had exclusively agrarian significance. However, with the acceleration of the process of urbanization, the meanings were somewhat changed. The most ancient history connected with agriculture was superseded by historical and mythological meanings. Biblical stories came to the rescue, writing a new basis for Shavuot.

So that the ancient holiday does not lose its significance, it is closely connected with the traditions of the history of the Jewish people. After seven weeks, the Jews wandering in the wilderness approach Mount Sinai and receive from the Lord their Book of Commandments – the Torah. In biblical history, this event is interpreted as the Sinai revelation, revered by all adherents of the Jewish faith. 

It was in the late spring of 1312 BC that the Jews believe they were given the Torah and its Ten Commandments. It is they who are honored as the moral and ethical foundation of the entire Jewish world. In honor of this event, a new rationale for the holiday of Shavuot appeared.

The tablets with the commandments were handed over to the prophet Moses, who led the Jewish people through the desert. According to legend, Moses, who lived on Mount Sinai, compiled the first commandments and wrote them down. 

History of Shavuot
History of Shavuot

After one and a half thousand years, all the commandments were combined into a printed set of legal and religious and ethical provisions of Judaism – the Talmud. Part of the “oral commandments” of the prophet Moses was written down in Jewish spiritual and ethical books, united under the general title – Midrash. 

Thus, the holiday of Shavuot has both an agricultural significance associated with the harvest, and a historical overtone introduced later. Jews believe that the holiday of Shavuot, like no other, is associated with their national identity.

Traditions and rules of the holiday

No ancient Jewish holiday can do without prayer. Shavuot is no exception. In the evening, a special prayer is read – Maariv. The next morning, galel is pronounced – a prayer expressing praise and gratitude to God. 

On this day, all synagogues are decorated with gifts of nature or just fresh greenery. Families come to the synagogues – children are also included in the holiday, who, along with adults, should not sleep all the festive night. 

After all, the Jews almost slept through the moment of the giving of the Torah three thousand years ago. A favorite part of the holiday for children is a treat – the traditional sweet dish “Mount Sinai”, similar to Easter cake.

For adults, their treats and their food and taste traditions associated with antiquity and modernity. On the day of Shavuot, they attach particular importance to the use of dairy products – milk, cheeses, cottage cheese pancakes. 

traditions and rules of the holiday
traditions and rules of the holiday

This tradition resonates with the biblical story: returning from Mount Sinai, the wanderers were also content with similar food. Today, various dairy and cheese festivals are held throughout Israel these days. You can eat meat on Shavuot, but it is important that these dishes are not consumed along with dairy.

According to the tradition recorded in the Bible, on these holidays, sacrifices were made to the Jerusalem Temple. It has survived to this day. Believers go to Jerusalem to present the Lord with the first fruitful gifts of the year.

What to eat

On Shavuot, it is customary to eat dairy dishes such as cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, pancakes with cottage cheese, pies, cakes, honey cakes, dumplings, pies or pancakes with cheese. This custom is connected with the fact that the Jews, having returned from Mount Sinai, could no longer use their old dishes because of the kosher laws given to them. 

They used to cook non-kosher food in it, but from the very first day they wanted to show that they were striving to comply with the new laws, and therefore they decided not to use it. It was easier for them to cook dairy food.

What to eat during Shavuot Programs 2022
What to eat during Shavuot Programs 2022

Preparation for Shavuot Programs 2022

The period leading up to the Easter celebrations is marked by extensive preparations and several special ceremonies. The most important of these is the removal of “chametz”, that is, any food product that contains fermented wheat, oats, barley, rye or spelt. As directed by the Torah, Jews thoroughly cleanse their homes to remove crumbs or pieces of food that may contain chametz. 

This cleaning culminates in a ritual “candlelight search” followed by a special blessing and formal relinquishment of any leftover leaven. The collected chametz is then burned in the morning before the Passover Seder. It is also customary to sell chametz to a non-Jew—generally allowing a rabbi to act as the selling agent—as an additional purification measure. 

In the absence of sourdough, Jews will eat specially prepared unleavened bread – matzah – on Passover. Many Jews will also eat foods made with “matzo flour”—finely ground unleavened bread. This tradition also has its origins in the story of the Exodus from Egypt, when the Jews, who did not have time to wait for the dough to rise, went to the desert with unleavened bread. 

First-born males over 13 years old are supposed to fast the day before Passover in memory of the fact that the Lord spared the Jewish first-born by striking the first-born of the Egyptians with the tenth “plague of Egypt.” They can be released from this obligation by taking part in a special celebratory meal on the morning before Passover, such as the completion of a Talmud study or a circumcision ceremony. 

The Saturday before Pesach is known as “Great Saturday” and is celebrated with a special reading from Malachi  3:4-24 . By tradition, in the afternoon, rabbis read special sermons, usually devoted to the laws (“mitzvot”) about the celebration of Pesach.

Preparation for Shavuot Programs 2022
Preparation for Shavuot Programs 2022

The Seder and the First Passover Day

On the evening of Friday, April 14, Jewish families will eat a special ceremonial dinner known as the Seder, whose customs and symbols are meant to remind each new generation of the Jewish people of the Exodus from Egypt.

The main element of the Seder is the reading of the Passover Haggadah – the story of the Exodus, which includes explanations, meal rules and traditional chants. The purpose of the ceremony is to observe the commandment “and tell your son” – to pass on to the younger generation the memory and traditions associated with the national liberation of the Jews, so that each participant in the celebration feels like a part of the Exodus from Egypt.

The central place on the Easter table is occupied by a special dish on which symbolic products are placed: an egg, symbolizing the special sacrifices offered in the Temple; meat on bones – a reminder of the Paschal lamb, which was sacrificed in the Temple for the feast; “charoset” – a mixture of grated fruits, nuts, wine and cinnamon, symbolizing the clay for bricks, which was kneaded by Jewish slaves in Egypt; parsley and lettuce, symbolizing spring; “maror” – “bitter grass” (celery or horseradish), symbolizing the bitterness of slavery; salt water is a reminder of the tears shed by Jewish slaves in Egypt. 

Three sheets of matzah are also placed on the table, indicating the division of the Jewish people into priests, Levites and the rest of the population.

The Seder and the First Passover Day

During the seder, when listing the ten Egyptian plagues, each participant dips his finger into his cup of wine and shakes off a drop. This custom reminds that, despite the oppression of the Jews in Egypt, they should not rejoice at the suffering of the Egyptian people through the fault of the pharaoh – Jewish cups of wine cannot be full. 

One of the Seder traditions loved by children is “afikoman”: matzah, which is the last meal of the Seder. The head of the family usually hides the afikoman so that the children can find it and return it for a “ransom”, since the seder cannot continue until the afikoman is eaten.  

“Weekdays of the holiday” – Easter week “hol hamoed”

Together with the holidays of Sukkot and Shavuot, Pesach is one of the three pilgrimage holidays. During the periods of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, Jews from all over the Ancient World ascended (“made aliyah”) these days to Jerusalem, and according to tradition, the Seder meal ends with the wish “Next year – in rebuilt Jerusalem!” 

According to Jewish tradition, it was on the seventh day after the Exodus from Egypt that the prophet Moses divided the “Red Sea”, the waters of which let the Jewish people through, and then, having closed, destroyed the Egyptians who were pursuing them.

Passover Week in Israel, which starts after Seder and runs through April 23rd, is usually a period of vacations and travel. Outside of Israel, the holiday lasts eight days. While the intervening days of Passover are not full holidays, special prayers and readings take place in synagogues, and educational institutions in Israel, like many businesses, are closed. Post offices and banks are open, but they work on a reduced schedule, newspapers are published.

On the evening of Saturday, April 16, Jews begin “sefirat omer” – counting 49 days (seven weeks) until the end of Saturday, June 4, the day before the holiday of Shavuot. This calculation is dedicated to the temple offering of the “omer” – a sheaf of new grain – in accordance with the biblical prescription of the book “Vayikra” (Leviticus)  (23: 15-16) . 

On Saturday, which falls on Easter week, it is customary to read the  Song of Songs along with morning prayers . 

Seventh Day of Pesach

The celebration of the seventh day of the Passover week as a complete holiday is prescribed in the Torah. This year, the seventh day begins at sunset on Thursday April 21st and lasts until Saturday April 22nd. By tradition, festive services and readings are held in synagogues on this day; special memorial prayers are also said for those who have died during the past year. The seventh day of Pesach, even when it does not fall on Saturday, is a full holiday – public transport does not run, newspapers do not go out, most shops are closed.

Mimouna 

Mimouna  is an unofficial but widely known holiday that originated among the Jews of North Africa, especially in Morocco, and is quite popular in Israel today. Mimouna is celebrated on the day when leavened food can be eaten again – this year the holiday will begin on Friday 22 April. According to the custom, families prepare rich treats and sweets, sweets and pastries, and host friends and relatives. Sometimes the festivities extend to entire neighborhoods, streets and parks.

On the occasion of the Easter week  , the Israeli Foreign Ministry will be closed from Friday 15 April to Saturday 23 April 2022. With the site, the Israeli Foreign Ministry will inform you about especially important events and will return to work in full  on Sunday, April 24.

Month of Nisan

The month of Nisan is one of the most important months of the year for a Jew. This month, Jews around the world are celebrating Passover – the holiday of freedom – one of the most beautiful holidays of the Jewish people, which Gd commanded to celebrate.

This year, more than 160 communities of Ukraine are participating in this celebration of the liberation of Jews from slavery.

Of course, there were also new participants who touched the traditions of the Jewish people for the first time, celebrating Pesach in a Jewish way and declaring their Jewishness.

Despite the difficult situation in Ukraine, Pesach sets are sent daily so that every Jewish family can spend the Passover Seder in accordance with all laws and traditions.

The Federation makes a lot of efforts to ensure that the holiday enters every Jewish home, so that no one is left without attention.

One of the priorities of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Ukraine is to provide members of Jewish communities with auxiliary printed materials – calendars with the Hebrew and Gregorian calendars with important dates, holidays, candle lighting times and much more indicated in them. Also, these are thematic booklets for each holiday and important dates, which describe the features of holidays and special days, prayers and blessings, quotes from the Rebbe.

The printed materials produced by the Federation represent a significant support for regional congregations, especially those without rabbis and organized staff.

Popular questions and answers

Where does the name of the Shavuot holiday come from?

Shavua means week. 
Shavuot always starts seven weeks after Passover.

What other names does this holiday have?

Yom Bikurim is the festival of first fruits. 
And “Khag-Ghakatsir” is the holiday of a new harvest.

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