Sukkot is a major Jewish festival held in the autumn and commemorates the sheltering of the Israelites in the wilderness and celebrates the way in which God protected them under difficult desert conditions.
Sukkot is also known as the Feast of Tabernacles or the Feast of Booths.
The name comes form the “sukkah”, a Hebrew word for a “booth” or “tabernacle” for the temporary dwelling which farmers would live in during the harvest season.
During Sukkot, Jews should gather and eat in a Sukkah – an open air structure which should be made up of a roof of branches and leaves.
But Jews do not live in these huts completely, as it depends on the climate where they live.
People living in cold countries can satisfy the obligation by simply taking their meals in the huts, but in warmer countries, Jewish people will often sleep out in their huts.
The Festival of Sukkot begins on the 15th day of Tishrei and the fifth day after Yom Kippur.
A sukkah must have at least two and a half walls covered with a material that will not blow away in the wind.
The walls of the sukkah does not have to be solid, canvas covering or nailed down is acceptable.
The roof of the sukkah must be made up of something that grew from the ground and was cut off, such as tree branches, bamboo, sticks or corn stalks.
Leviticus 23:42 states: “You shall dwell in sukkot seven days…in order that future generations may know that I made the Israelite people live in sukkot when I brought them out of the land of Egypt, I the Lord our God.”
The Sukkot rituals is to take four type of plant material: an etrog (citron fruit), palm branch, myrtle branch and a willow branch and rejoice with them.
People rejoice with them by waving them or shaking them about.
The festival is set down in the Hebrew Bible book of Leviticus.
The book says: “You shall dwell in booths seven days, that your generation shall know I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt.”
Sukkot involves reading from the Torah every day and gathering of music and dance across the intermediate days of the festival, which are known as the period of Chol HalMoed.
The final two days are separate holidays – Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah.
When does Sukkot start?
Sukkot starts in the evening of Sunday, September 23 and ends in the evening of Sunday, September 30.