What Is the Feast of Tabernacles?


Quick Answer

The Feast of Tabernacles, or Sukkot, is a Jewish holiday commemorating a forty-year period during which the Jewish people wandered in the desert, living in temporary shelters. According to Jewfaq.org, celebration of Sukkot lasts seven days, during which Jewish people build and live in temporary shelters.

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Full Answer

The word "Sukkot" is Hebrew for "booths" or "tabernacles," referring to the temporary shelters the Jewish people lived in during their forty years of wandering in the desert. Jewish people celebrate Sukkot by building their own shelters, either from scratch or from kits available for purchase. These shelters traditionally have two and a half walls and no roof, though they may be covered lightly to protect against rain. Building the temporary shelter is a favorite part of the holiday for children, as it's similar to building a fort, and may be festively decorated.

Another aspect of the Sukkot celebration is the waving of the Four Species. Celebrants hold a citron (a citrus fruit native to Israel), a palm branch, two willow branches and three myrtle branches, recite a blessing, and then wave the plants in all six directions (north, south, east, west, up and down) to symbolize the fact that God is all around us.

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