Dates and Origins of Shavuot
Shavuot Dates in 2018, 2019 and 2020
Shavuot is celebrated at the following dates:
- Sunday, 20th and Monday, May 21st 2018
- Sunday, 9th and Monday, June 10th 2019
- Friday, 29th and Saturday, May 30th 2020
Shavuot, also known as the feast of weeks and Pentecost, occurs on the sixth day of the month of Sivan. It commemorates the day that God gave the nation of Israel the Torah as well as signifying the annual wheat harvest. It completes the counting of Omer.
Shavuot is intimately tied with the grain harvest of ancient Israel. Much like Sukkot coincides with the fruit harvest, Shavuot is the final day of the grain harvest. This holiday happens exactly seven weeks after Passover and marks the end of the Passover season. It is therefore known as the feast of weeks, or a week of weeks. For ancient Israelis, two loaves of bread were donated to the temple.
This holiday is not well known to secular Jews, especially in the Jewish diaspora. It is celebrated, however, by orthodox Jews and those in Israel. It is celebrated for one day in Israel and two days in the religious Jewish diaspora. Unlike many other Jewish holidays, there are no prescribed mitzvot, or commandments, although several customs do exist. These customs include
- Akdamut, a liturgical poem reading during the morning synagogue service on Shavuot
- Chalav, the consumption of milk or cheese
- Ruth, the book of Ruth being read at morning services. Outside of Israel, this occurs on the second day
- Yerek, decorations of greenery at homes and at synagogues
- Torah, all night Torah study