Skip to main content

Sukkot - The Holiday of Little Huts

A very patriotic sukkah

All the Jewish holidays have special customs and traditions that make then quite distinctive from each other.

So if you are eating doughnuts and lighting a menora, you know that is is Hanukka. In the Jewish New year, Rosh haShana, one eats pomegranates and listen to a shofar. At Yom Kippur you fast and in Sukkot you sit in a little hut.

Say what? A holiday where you sit in a little hut!?

Yup, that is right. The little huts (or booths) represents the temporary dwellings the Hebrews liven in while they wandered for forty years in the desert. Sukkot is sometimes translated as the ' Feast of the Tabernacles' but that is not 100% correct. The tabernacle is known in Hebrew as the 'Mishkan' and is where the Ark of the Covenant was kept. Succot refers to the dwellings the people lived in.

A succah in making
A succah in the garden
Right after Yom Kippur people start building these little huts in their yards and on their porches and balconies. Any design goes, as long as it is a temporary structure with at least three walls and a roof that is made from something that grew in the earth such as branches or sticks. The branches must be arranged in such a way that the stars can be still be seen but there should be more shade that sun inside the hut.

Of course children just love these little 'forts' and it is often their responsibility to decorate the sukkah. The Jewish commandment is to dwell in the sukkah during Sukkot and this is usually fulfilled by eating all the meals there during the seven days of Sukkot. Restaurants and hotels also make sure that their patrons have a succah to eat their meals in. I have even seen succas put up in a picnic place at the end of a hiking trail.

A succah on the second floor
Some people also try sleeping in their succas but the rain season in Israel starts at this time. It is not uncommon to see people run into their house in the middle of the night!

As soon as Succot ends, the little huts are folded up and stored away until the next year and the dead branches and decorations thrown away.

Just before Sukkot the municipalities give the palm and date trees 'hair cuts' so that people can use the old branches in their sukkahs.


Popular posts from this blog

When the almond trees flower

We are right at the entrance of spring now in Israel. Luckily we had a lot of rain this winter and everywhere is clean and green.
We are already enjoying the spring flowers but one cannot talk (okay write..☺) about spring flowers without mentioning almond blossoms.

The wild mustard flowers of Israel

The wild mustard is growing yellow and everywhere in Israel at the moment. But not the kind of mustard that you eat with ketchup on your hotdog! Wild mustard as in wild mustard plants! :)

I am talking about Sinapsis Arvensis, a tiny yellow flower that grows in masses in fields, along road sides and abandoned building sites. Up close the wild mustard flower does not look like much - a bit on the puny side actually. But just come across a field filled with mustard flowers and you will be enchanted - just as I am every spring.

Becoming a Hummus Connoisseur

Hummus plays a large role in the Israeli diet. Wherever you may find yourself eating something, from a picnic at the beach, an end-of-year party or a conference in a smart hotel - there you are sure to find a plate of hummus.

There are even restaurants in Israel that ONLY serve hummus and no other kind of food. These restaurants, known as a "hummusia" in Hebrew are very popular and Israelis often argue about which hummusia serves the best hummus. Some people like their hummus with cooked fava beans and/ or boiled chickpea kernels, others insist on a boiled egg in their plate (not me!) and others just want a sprinkling of paprika and a dash of  olive oil.

Which ever way you like to eat it, hummus is very healthy, very filling and a great vegetarian dish. It is made out mashed chickpeas (garbanzo beans), olive oil and seasoning.

A good plate of hummus MUST be accompanied by a few decent pitot (plural for pita bread). One eats the hummus by breaking of a piece of the pita brea…