As soon as Yom Kippur ends, it’s time to start preparing for Sukkot. While the two important Jewish holidays couldn’t be more different in tone, they both require ample planning and preparation. Looking for tips on how to pull off the most joyful Sukkot yet this October 17-25th? You’ve come to the right place.
What Does Sukkot Celebrate?
If any holiday was worth an entire week of celebration, it would be Sukkot. Beginning five days after Yom Kippur, Sukkot is the final of the three Jewish pilgrimage festivals. Like its fellow Shalosh Regalim of Passover and Shavuot, Sukkot is twofold in significance with both historical and agricultural meaning. It fetes the bounty of the harvest while simultaneously commemorating the 40 years the Israelites spent wandering the desert following their exodus from ancient Egypt.
The primary symbol of Sukkot — which also gives the holiday its name — is called a sukkah, the Hebrew word for “booth.” These hut-like structures represent the temporary shelters the Jews lived in during their years in the wilderness and also acknowledge the fragility of our bodies, homes, and existence. Today, Jews are commanded to build sukkahs of their own and to “dwell” in them — an edict which, in modern times, involves eating and, sometimes, even sleeping in them during the seven days of Sukkot.
Because Sukkot celebrates the blessings of nature, it makes sense that sukkahs are traditionally built and decorated with natural materials, such as tree branches and bamboo. Additionally, many Jews incorporate autumn-themed fruits and vegetables into their designs, including everything from dried corn stalks to gourds. The result? Organically festive displays.
The nature theme is also continued during Sukkot with the waving of the “four kinds,” a bundle of date, myrtle and willow tree fronds collectively called a lulav and a yellow citron fruit called an etrog. Representing service to God, the lulav and etrog add another element of beauty to the Sukkot festivities.
The Sukkot Feast
While there are no mandatory Sukkot foods, the holiday’s theme is a perfect fit for autumnal favorites, including dishes made from fall fruits, like apples and pears, as well as seasonal root vegetables, such as apples and pears.
Meals are hearty, to be sure, and may include everything from authentic Jewish favorites like challah and kugels to rich stews and roasted stuffed turkey. Speaking of stuffed foods, they’re also a popular Sukkot food for their symbolic representation of abundance. And then, of course, there are the beloved meat-stuffed marvels of bite-sized bliss, kreplach.
If Sukkot sounds a lot like Thanksgiving, you’re not so far off. The holidays share many things in common — from their themes of gratitude to the predominance of food as an integral part of the festivities.
Sukkot is so unabashedly joyful that it earned the Hebrew nickname of Z’man Simchateinu, or “the Season of our Rejoicing.” Unfortunately, the truth is that there’s often little joy to be found in preparing for the Jewish holidays — particularly when they fall in such close succession. Just as some people opt to purchase do-it-yourself sukkah kits to lighten their loads without losing the meaning, so have others discovered the joy in having gourmet foods delivered.
After all, what better way to embrace the spirit of Sukkot than by freeing yourself of toil in order to fully honor all of your blessings? Shop events like Sukkot and much much more at FoodyDirect today.