Sukkot or Sukkos is the Jewish harvest festival. This holiday takes place on the 15th of the month of Tishrei (sometime between late September to late October), and occurs on the full moon (the Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar and many of our holidays start on the full moon).
The word sukkot literally means “booth” or “tabernacle” and the holiday is often referred to as the Feast of Tabernacles. After the exodus from slavery in Egypt, the Israelites wandered in the dessert for 40 years and lived in sparse and temporary dwellings called “sukkot” –the holiday is to commemorate this period.
Sukkot is in fact a seven day holiday (eight in the diaspora). The first and second days are sabbath-like in observance (In Hebrew this type of day is referred to as yom tov , which literally means, good day). The eighth day of Sukkot is called Shemini Atzeret (the word Shemini is a derivative of the word eight in Hebrew which is sh'mona). Shemini Atzeret literally means “the Eighth [day] of Assembly.”
The holiday immediately following Sukkot in the Diaspora is Simchat Torah (or, “Joy of the Torah”). In Israel, Simchat Torah is celebrated on Shemini Atzeret –are you following this? It's a bit complicated, even if you are Jewish.
What are you serving for Sukkot? What else do any of you want to share about your experiences with this amazing holiday?