June 11, 2016
|Last Year (2015)||23rd May to 25th May|
|Present Year (2016)||11th June to 13th June|
|Next Year (2017)||30th May to 1st June|
Shavuot is a Jewish holiday that occurs on the sixth day of the Hebrew month of Sivan (may fall between 14 May-15 June). Shavuot has a double significance. It marks the all-important wheat harvest in the Land of Israel and it commemorates the anniversary of the day God gave the Torah to the entire nation of Israel assembled at Mount Sinai.
The holiday is one of the Shalosh Regalim, the three Biblical pilgrimage festivals. It marks the conclusion of the Counting of the Omer, and its date is directly linked to that of Passover. The Torah mandates the seven-week Counting of the Omer, beginning on the second day of Passover, to be immediately followed by Shavuot.
Shavuot is one of the less-celebrated Jewish holidays among secular Jews in the Jewish diaspora, while those in Israel are more aware of it. According to Jewish law, Shavuot is celebrated in Israel for one day and in the Diaspora for two days. Reform Judaism celebrates only one day, even in the Diaspora.
In ancient times, two wheat loaves would be offered in Holy Temple. It was also at this time that people would begin to bring bikkurim, their first and choicest fruits, to thank God for Israel’s bounty. The holiday of Shavuot is a two-day holiday, beginning at sundown of the 5th of Sivan and lasting until nightfall of the 7th of Sivan.
Women and girls light holiday candles to usher in the holiday, on both the first and second evenings of the holidays. It is customary to stay up all night learning Torah on the first night of Shavuot. All men, women and children should go to the synagogue on the first day of Shavuot to hear the reading of the Ten Commandments.
As on other holidays, special meals are eaten, and no “work” may be performed. It is customary to eat dairy foods on Shavuot. Among other reasons, this commemorates the fact that upon receiving the Torah, including thekosher laws, the Jewish people could not cook meat in their pots, which had yet to be rendered kosher.
On the second day of Shavuot, the Yizkor memorial service is recited. Some communities read the Book of Ruth publicly, as King David—whose passing occurred on this day—was a descendant of Ruth the Moabite.