Sukkot, also known as the Jewish Feast of the Tabernacle is one of the most important Jewish observances of the year. It is observed during the week starting on the 15th day of Tishri, which is the first month of the year in the Jewish calendar and the festival lasts for about seven days.
This year, Sukkot begins in the evening of Wednesday, 8 October, and ends at nightfall on 15 October.
Here are 5 interesting factsto know about the festival including its history, significance and origin:
1. For the 7 days and nights of the Sukkot, many Jewish families live in a temporary structure called 'Sukkah' from where the name of the festival came. The temporary dwelling with a thatched roof, is usually built in a garden or on a balcony prior to the first day of Sukkot. Two other components of the holiday are inviting guests, or ushpizin, and waiving the "four species," known as the Lulav and Etrog.
2. Sukkot is one of the three holidays mandated in the Bible, and it is also an occasion for which the ancient tribes made a pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem. This holiday is based on the following verse: "Every resident among the Israelites shall live in booths, in order that your (ensuring) generations should know that I had the children of Israel live in booths when I took them out of the land of Egypt" (Leviticus 23:42-43). In practice the temporary dwellings made is a physical representation of the "clouds of glory" that is said to have protected the Israelites as they journeyed through the desert after escaping from Egypt.
3. The commandment related to the four species – the lulav and etrog (palm, willow and myrtle and citron) is also mentioned in chapter 23 of Levitcus: "And you shall take for yourselves on the first day (of Sukkot), the fruit of the harder tree (myrtle), date palm fronds, a branch of a braided tree, and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for a seven day period" (23:40).
4. Welcoming of guests (ushpizin in Aramaic) into the Sukkah is another very important aspect of the holiday. The ushpizin is a collective name for Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Joseph and David and they are said to embody seven different spiritual paths that together would make the creation more beautiful. Abraham taught loving kindness while Isaac represented strength. Jacob shows harmony, while Moses is eternality. Aaron is divine splendour, Joseph is spiritual foundation and David represents sovereignty, the Huffington Post notes citing scriptures.
5. During modern times, Jewish people have developed various unique ways of celebrating the holiday – one of them being the so called "Pedi-Sukkah" -- a mobile Sukkah attached to a cab. People claim they are made to spread awareness of the holiday.