September 30, 2012 - Sukkot Begins

This Jewish holiday is sometimes called “Feast of the Booths.” The booths in question are temporary walled structures covered with a roof made of plant materials such as leafy branches, wood slats, or palm leaves. A Jewish family builds a sukkah in commemoration of the fragile and temporary structures that the ancient Israelites lived in, according to the Torah, during forty years of travel in the desert. Many families follow the custom of eating their meals in their sukkot, and some sleep there, too.

It is customary to decorate the inside of a sukkah with hanging fruits and grains, because this holiday is a harvest festival, a thanksgiving, an agricultural ceremony.

The holiday, which starts today at sundown, lasts until sundown on October 7.

Check out this modern (and rather silly) Sukkot song during a time-lapse video of building a sukkah

Not all sukkot look alike! Two years ago my son-in-law was part of a competition and exhibition of “reimagined” sukkot in New York City. He was hired to build the sukkah called Time/Timeless. Check out this photo gallery of Sukkah City. 

One of my favorite picture books deals with Sukkot: Tikvah Means Hope, by Patricia Polacco.

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