Shavuot was originally one of the pilgrimage holidays associated with the gathering of the new harvest. Starting from the 2nd century. B.C. associated with the giving of the Torah to the Jews on Mount Sinai at the exodus from Egypt.
Modern customs of the holiday
One of the modern attributes of the holiday is the custom of wearing white clothes. Although this tradition has little basis other than the common cultural perception of white as a symbol of purity, it is very common among modern Jews. So, friends, today even a white T-shirt or a handkerchief is a festive outfit!
It is a common practice among North African Jews to celebrate Shavuot as a water festival. The source of the tradition is considered to be the works of Moshe Ben Maimon Yelibaz, a rabbi of the city of Tarudant who lived in the 16th century. Initially, the custom existed as a tradition to pour water over the reader of "Azgarot" in the synagogue and brides who are to get married this year. With the migration of Maghreb Jews to Israel, the custom was preserved as a children's holiday of dousing and playing with water.
The custom of Ashkenazic Jews to decorate synagogues and houses with green branches and flowers dates back to the 14th century. and comes from the midrash, according to which Mount Sinai was covered with greenery and flowers during the giving of the Torah. In some synagogues, it is customary to decorate the bimah with branches like a wedding tent. Like a bride receiving a ktubah under a chuppah, the people of Israel received the Torah at Sinai.
The festive meal on Shavuot traditionally includes dairy food. This custom probably originated in France in the late Middle Ages and spread among European Jews. The first mention of him belongs to Rabbi Avigdor Tsarfati, who lived in France in the 13th century. Although ancient Sephardic sources do not mention this custom, they follow it today just as much as the Eastern Jews who adopted it in the 20th century. Dishes that are eaten on Shavuot are, first of all, varieties of flatbreads, pies and dumplings with cheese fillings, typical of local cuisine, and other dairy-based dishes. Depending on the financial status and other circumstances, the meal can be from rich to purely symbolic. This is also the origin of the custom of treating children who are starting to study Torah with honey in order to form pleasant memories.
All-night study of the Torah: starting from the 16th century. it is a common custom to study certain parts of the Torah and the books of the sages on the night of the holiday. The collection of prayers and the process itself is called Tikun Lel Shavuot.
According to the Jewish calendar, the holiday begins in the evening of the day before and ends in the evening of this day, in the Diaspora Shavuot is celebrated on the 6th and 7th of Sivan. So, in Kyiv, the celebration ends on the evening of May 27, 2023.
Hag Shavuot sameach! Meaningful life, spiritual growth and victory!