What holidays are celebrated in judaism?

Many of these holidays are found in Leviticus ch.23. The holidays begin at sunset and last until after nightfall around 25 hours later.

A list of Jewish holidays, fasts and occasions:

  • Shabbat - every Saturday (beginning Friday at sunset)
  • Rosh Chodesh - the new moon, every 29 or 30 days
  • Rosh Hashanah - the Jewish New Year, 2 days
  • Aseret Yemei Teshuva - Ten Days of Repentance
  • Yom Kippur - fast day, Day of Atonement, 1 day
  • Sukkot - Tabernacles - 7 or 8 days
  • Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah - 1 or 2 days
  • Hanukkah - Festival of Lights - 8 days
  • Tu Bishvat - New Year of the Trees - 1 day
  • Purim - 1 day, followed by 1 day of Shushan Purim
  • Pesach - Passover - 7 or 8 days
  • Sefirah - Counting of the Omer - 49 days
  • Lag Ba'omer - 1 day
  • Shavuot - Feast of Weeks; Yom HaBikurim; Pentecost - 2 days
  • The Three Weeks and the Nine Days (days of mourning preceding Tisha b'Av; see below)
  • Tu B'Av - 1 day

Fast days:

  • Tzom Gedalya; the day after Rosh Hashanah
  • Asara B'Tevet - 10th of the month of Tevet
  • Ta'anit Esther - the day before Purim
  • Shiva Asar B'Tamuz - 17th of Tamuz
  • Tisha B'Av - 9th of the month of Av

The fasts start shortly before dawn and end at twilight, except for Tisha B'Av which starts the evening before at sunset and lasts for 25 hours. The 3 weeks between Shiva Asar B'Tamuz and Tisha B'Av is a period of mourning for the destruction of the Temple, referred to as "the 3 weeks" or Bein Hameitzarim. The mourning intensifies during the last 9 days of these 3 weeks.

Each festival has its specific laws:

  • On Rosh Hashanah, the shofar (ram's horn) is blown, to mark the beginning of the Jewish year.
  • Yom Kippur is a fast day on which Jews pray for forgiveness for all their sins. No eating, drinking, or bathing is allowed. Wearing leather shoes is also prohibited.
  • On Sukkot Jews eat all their meals in outdoor arbor-canopied booths (Sukkah) in order to commemorate the Israelites' wanderings in the desert. Some will also sleep in the Sukkah. During the morning prayers on these days, we take the 4 minim consisting of a Lulav (young palm branch), an Etrog (Citrus Medica; citron), three Haddassim (Myrtle branches) and two Aravot (willow branches).
  • On Hannukah the 8 branched menora is lit in the home; on the first night one candle, on the 2nd night 2 candles, until all 8 candles are lit on the 8th night.
  • On Pesach leavened bread, cakes, pasta etc. are forbidden and unleavened Matzah is substituted. Passover begins with the Seder-meal commemorating and retelling the story of the Exodus. Matzah and ceremonial foods are eaten at the Seder.
  • On Purim the story of Esther is read from a Megilat-Esther scroll and food baskets are given to friends and charity to the poor.
  • On Shavuot the custom is to stay up all night studying Torah to mark the date that God gave the Ten Commandments.

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