Religion and BeliefsHolidays

What is Sukkot?


Sukkot is a Jewish holiday that begins every year on the 15th day of the month Tishrei on the Jewish calendar, which is usually some time in September or October.

Sukkot is a festive holiday that celebrates the harvest and commemorates the biblical story of the Jewish people who had to wander the desert for 40 years before entering the land of Israel.

One of the main observances on Sukkot is to both build and dwell in a Sukkah, a hut-like temporary shelter that is meant to be similar to those lived in by the Jewish people during their years in the desert. Among others, one of the main features of a Sukkah is that it must have a thatched roof made of natural plant materials through which the stars can be seen! During the seven days of Sukkot, Jewish people are meant to spend as much of their time as possible in the Sukkah, eating all of their meals in it and, if possible, even sleeping in it! Most people also decorate their Sukkah with arts and crafts projects or reminders of the harvest.

by Mya Kagan (Whyzz writer)


In addition to building and dwelling in a Sukkah, another observance of Sukkot involves the etrog and lulav. "Etrog" is the Hebrew name for a citron (similar to a lemon) and "lulav" is the Hebrew name for a palm branch, but is loosely used to refer to a palm branch in addition two willow branches and three myrtle branches which are bunched together. The etrog and lulav are then held in the left and right hand (respectively) and, after a blessing, are shaken east, south, west, north, up, and down as a symbol that God is everywhere! Are there any other customs like this from other holidays or other religions that you've heard of or participated in? If so, what did it involve??

Further Information

At the end of Sukkot are two more affiliated holidays: Shemini Atzeret (in which prayers are offered for rain in the coming year) and Simchat Torah (which marks the completion and re-starting of one year's Torah readings). With all three of these holidays happening in such a short period of time, it is usually considered a very joyful time for Jewish people! Due to differences in customs and interpretations, Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah are not celebrated by all Jewish people on the same day. In Israel, these two holidays are usually celebrated together on the day following Sukkot, while in other countries, some people celebrate them on the same day and others celebrate them on two consecutive days, with Shemini Atzeret first and Simchat Torah second. While most people agree that Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah are separate holidays from Sukkot, many also agree that there is a relationship between the three.


Introduction to Sukkot. The Orthodox Union.Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah. Hillel.orgSukkot. Judaism 101.