Do you enjoy learning about the Biblical feasts? I do! This fall I am on a mission to learn about and teach my family about Rosh Hashannah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot. Do you want to join me and learn how to celebrate Sukkot with your family?
What is Sukkot and How is it Celebrated?
This post is not meant to be packed full of information nor is theological my goal. I simply want to share with you what Sukkot is and how to celebrate it with your kids as a way to understand some of the laws given to Moses. I will post links for further study if you are interested. In this post we will cover the following:
- Sukkot in the Bible
- Sukkot facts
- Foods of Sukkot
- Sukkot activities for kids
Sukkot in the Bible
Sukkot is found in the Bible in Leviticus and Numbers as direct commandments from God given to Moses. It is also found in Nehemiah. It is a 7 day holiday in which no work is permitted on the first or last days.
A sukkot, or type of temporary shelter is built, as a reminder of the Children of Israel dwelling in the wilderness after their exile from bondage in Egypt.
Also on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep the feast of the Lord for seven days; on the first day there shall be a sabbath-rest, and on the eighth day a sabbath-rest. 40 And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days.
41 You shall keep it as a feast to the Lord for seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations. You shall celebrate it in the seventh month. 42 You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths, 43 that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 23:39-43)
Numbers 29:12-39 also teaches about the Feast of Tabernacles and instructions for sacrifices are given.
In the book of Nehemiah, we see the Jews returning after their exile and trying to learn about and follow the commandments of God. We see their excitement and strong conviction when they hear the Law of Moses for the first time. They begin by celebrating Rosh Hashanah. In the following verses, we read that they also celebrated the Sukkot.
Now on the second day the heads of the fathers’ houses of all the people, with the priests and Levites, were gathered to Ezra the scribe, in order to understand the words of the Law.
And they found written in the Law, which the Lord had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths during the feast of the seventh month, 15 and that they should announce and proclaim in all their cities and in Jerusalem, saying, “Go out to the mountain, and bring olive branches, branches of oil trees, myrtle branches, palm branches, and branches of leafy trees, to make booths, as it is written.”
16 Then the people went out and brought them and made themselves booths, each one on the roof of his house, or in their courtyards or the courts of the house of God, and in the open square of the Water Gate and in the open square of the Gate of Ephraim.
So the whole assembly of those who had returned from the captivity made booths and sat under the booths; for since the days of Joshua the son of Nun until that day the children of Israel had not done so. And there was very great gladness. 18 Also day by day, from the first day until the last day, he read from the Book of the Law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day there was a sacred assembly, according to the prescribed manner. (Nehemiah 8:13-18)
Teach your kids to recognize God’s blessings in their lives all year round with this cute gratitude journal for kids. Click the image below to find out more!
What do you do During Sukkot? A Few Sukkot Facts
- Sukkot is also known as the Festival of Booths, Season of our Rejoicing, Feast of Tabernacles, and the Festival of the Ingathering.
- It is one of three pilgrimage festivals in which the Jews were required to travel to the temple (along with Passover and Shavuot).
- A common greeting during Sukkot is “Chag Sameach” which means “joyous festival”.
- In Nehemiah branches of either olive, pine, or myrtle along with palm fronds were used to build the booths.
- Four species are gathered and shaken ceremoniously during the holiday. They are etrog (citron), lulav (closed frond of a palm tree), hadas (myrtle), and aravah (branches of willow). These are important Sukkot symbols.
- Everyone eats and hangs out in the sukkot and many people also sleep in them.
Foods of Sukkot
Unlike most Jewish holidays, there are no special foods prepared for Sukkot, with the exception of kreplach. The meals are eaten in the booth and the dishes highlight the harvest season.
Kreplach is stuffed noodle dumplings which date back to medieval Europe. They can be stuffed with chicken, beef, brisket, or cheese.
Like I mentioned before, many Sukkot dishes make use of the harvest. This pumpkin soup recipe looks amazing! For more pumpkin recipes see my post “14 Pumpkin Recipes for Kids”.
Tzimmes is a traditional Jewish food often eaten during Rosh Hashanah. Although it has a variety of recipes, most begin with carrots and honey. This recipe is simple and delicious.
After reading my post on how to celebrate Rosh Hashanah with your family, a friend sent me this recipe for holiday challah.
Activities for Kids
Paper chains for decorating the sukkot. Write a note or the name of a loved one on each link.
Are You Ready to Celebrate Sukkot?
I hope you feel a little more educated about the Biblical feast of Sukkot! I’d love to hear what you learned or if you participate in this holiday at all. In 2020 Sukkot begins the evening of October 2nd.
Now that you have some ideas about how to celebrate Sukkot with your family, I hope you feel comfortable teaching your kids and beginning your own family traditions.
Here are a few links if you are interested in more information about Sukkot.
During my research for my three Jewish holiday posts, I came across Tori Avey. She has wonderful info about Jewish life and traditions.
Check out the other two posts in this series!