Known as the 'festival of booths,' Sukkot is a 7-day holiday that celebrates the bounty of the harvest. Sukkot menus include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, and many families eat one or more meals in a "sukkah" or temporary hut to commemorate the dwellings of ancient Israelites. Whether you're new to the holiday of Sukkot or have an established set of traditions, enjoy these tastes of the season with family and friends!
The name "Sukkot" refers to the sukkah, or huts, that were built at the edges of the fields during the harvest season in ancient Israel. These dwellings provided shade and shelter and allowed families to spend as much time as possible gathering in their bountiful harvest at its peak.
The backyard sukkah
Today, many Jewish families enjoy building and decorating a sukkah, a small hut or tent-like structure, in the backyard, just as Christians might put up and decorate a Christmas tree. Meals are eaten in the sukkah, weather permitting, throughout the 7-day celebration. Synagogues also might construct a community sukkah for all to enjoy.
Waving the lulav and the etrog
Another custom at Sukkot is to wave the "lulav" and the "etrog," as described in the Jewish holy book, the Torah. The etrog is a citron, a relative of the lemon, and the lulav consists of a palm frond around which three myrtle twigs and two willow twigs are wrapped. During Sukkot, the etrog and lulav are waved together in each of the four directions as special blessings are given in thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest.