The Jewish holiday of Sukkot, also known as the Feast of Booths, begins on the 15th day of the seventh month in the biblical calendar—or September 23rd this year. The seven day holiday originates from the Book of Leviticus, in which God instructs Moses “You shall live in booths seven days.” Today, adherents celebrate by building temporary dwellings —or sukkahs— from wood, canvas, or aluminum, and praying inside of them. The holy week also commemorates the flimsy dwellings that Israelities were forced to live in during their 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, following their exodus from Egypt.
How to Observe Sukkot
1. Build a sukkah
Modern sukkahs are built of all kinds of materials, from wood to aluminum siding, and are typically decorated with depictions of the four species (four plant species mentioned in the Torah)
2. Read the Torah
During Sukkot, it is customary to read from the Torah every day, as well as reciting the Muffat and Hallel. Prayer takes place within sukkahs.
3. Take a rest
During Sukkot, activities that interfere with enjoyment of the holiday—such as household chores—are not permitted
Why Sukkot is Important
A. It marks the end of harvest
Sukkot marks the end of the Israelite's harvest period, and is also referred to as "the feast of ingatherings."
B. It's an important reminder
Sukkot also gives adherents of the Jewish faith an opportunity to remember the Israelites 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, during which the tribes were forced to live in sukkah
C. Israel shuts down for it
In Israel, many businesses cease operations all seven days of Sukkot