The Jewish Holy Days: Part I
Jerry Katz - December 15, 2008
Like all religions Judaism sets aside certain days to celebrate their religion and to remember their past. There are many different Jewish holy days and they are commemorated in a variety of ways depending on which branch of the faith that one chooses to belong to. In this series we will examine the history and origins of the main Jewish holy days as well as looking at how Jewish people around the world celebrate this important part of their religion.
Maurycy Gottlieb: Jews Praying
Jewish holy days are scheduled according to the Jewish calendar which is based on moon cycles and not the secular calendar which is based on the earth’s revolutions around the sun. This means that the holy days will fall on different dates each year but they usually fall into the same season every year. The first of the holy days are the High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Rosh Hashanah is the official beginning of the Jewish New Year according to the Jewish calendar and it is a day or reflection back on the year that was and the one that is about to come. Yom Kippur is known as the “Day of Atonement” and is a time for praying for any sins which may have been committed throughout the past year.
The next holy day is Sukkot which comes five days after Yom Kippur. Known as the “Festival of Booths” this is a weeklong celebration that has a long history among the Jewish people and serves to remember the times when the Israelites lived in the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land. After Sukkot comes Simchat Torah, which is a day to celebrate the joy that Jews feel as a Chosen people to have been given the great gift of the Torah from HaShem.
The next holy day is a winter holiday called Hanukkah which reminds the Jewish people of their victory of the Maccabees over the Syrian army of Antiochus Epiphane in 165 B.
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