What is Shavuot?
Shavuot is the second of three major Jewish holidays that occurs 50 days after Passover, another major Jewish holiday. Originally a historical and agricultural festival that marked the end of the seven weeks of the Passover barley harvest and the beginning of the wheat harvest, Shavuot is also a religious observance of God’s presenting Moses with the Torah, or the Ten Commandments, at Mount Sinai 50 days after the Israelites left Egypt.
Shavuot is similar to the Christian holy day Pentecost, which falls 49 days after Easter Sunday and celebrates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Christ’s followers.
When is Shavuot?
Shavuot is celebrated 50 days after Passover each year. Like Passover, Shavuot falls on a different day each year. This year, Shavuot falls on May 15.
How do people celebrate Shavuot?
Jewish people celebrate Shavuot by studying the Torah, reading the Akdamot and the Book of Ruth, decorating their homes with plants, flowers and leafy branches, and eating dairy products. In the U.S., synagogues often hold Jewish confirmation ceremonies on Shavuot. Although Shavuot is not a federal holiday in the U.S., many Jewish businesses and organizations close or limit their hours on Shavuot while Jewish people may choose to take their annual vacation around this time of year so that they have the day off.
Read more about Shavuot and its symbols and traditions.