Dates and Origins of Lag Ba'Omer
Lag Ba'Omer Dates in 2017, 2018 and 2019
Lag Ba'Omer is celebrated at the following dates:
- Sunday, May 14th 2017
- Thursday, May 3rd 2018
- Thursday, May 23rd 2019
Lag Ba'Omer occurs on the 33rd day of the Counting of the Omer, coinciding with the 18th day of the Hebrew month of Iyar. It is a minor Jewish holiday that commemorates the anniversary of the death of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai.
In the second century, a Mishnaic sage named Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai revealed the deepest secrets of the kabbalah in the Book of Splendor, otherwise known as the Zohar. This was a landmark text in Jewish mysticism leading to several customs including bonfires and pilgrimages to Bar Yochai's tomb. According to the Talmud, 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva died of a divine plague because of their lack of respect for one another. Bar Yochai was one of the five students that survived and went on to divulge some of the deepest secrets of the Kabbalah. It is for this reason that this day is usually associated with light as a representation of wisdom.
The Counting of the Omer is considered a semi-mourning period until Lag Ba'Omer on the 33rd day. It is common to schedule celebrations such as weddings, parties, haircuts and listening to music on this day. Bonfires are typical both in Israel and in the religious Jewish diaspora. These represent the great light left behind after the teachings of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. Children are often given their first haircuts on Lag Ba'Omer.
This day is also a popular wedding day for Ashkenazi Jews, whereas Sephardi Jews tend to hold weddings on the next day. This tends to be the first opportunity for a wedding in the early spring or summer for those who do not hold celebrations between Passover and Lag Ba'Omer.