I have a Sukkah!
We are coming up to the final leg of the Jewish Holidays. Sukkot is also known as Harvest Festival. Beginning five days after Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), and one of the most sombre of all the holidays, Sukkot is the opposite. It is the festival of rejoicing. Sukkot is named after the booths or huts (sukkot in Hebrew) in which Jews are supposed to live during this week-long celebration. According to rabbinic tradition, these flimsy sukkot represent the huts in which the Israelites lived during their 40 years of wandering in the desert after escaping from slavery in Egypt.
This is the reason for the rejoicing.
For those readers who don’t know; Sukkot lasts for 7 days. The first 2 days are observant days with no work being permitted. We go to synagogue and pray and come home to a pre-cooked festive meal in our sukkah which is decorated with fruit, coloured lights, tinsel decorations (which the rest of the world uses for xmas). The table is set, as always on Jewish festivals, with your good china. Then next 5 days are normal working days but you are still required to eat your meals in the sukkah. The last day runs into the final observant Jewish holiday until Pesach (Passover). I will write about these two next week which are SimchaTorah and Shemini Azeret.
We cannot just randomly build a sukkah as we wish as there are specific requirements for this. I will not go into this as there are many sites with the correct information.
However, it is a temporary hut with walls of canvas or hardboard and a roof of palm leaves or bamboo mats. If you are in a fairly Jewish suburb, you will have seen these little huts sprouting up all over. If you have a palm tree in your garden someone has, probably, come to ask if they could trim off a few leaves.
I love this holiday! I am not sure why. Maybe it’s sitting outside, maybe it is seeing my kid’s drawings and pictures from pre-grade onward decorating it. The atmosphere around this holiday; is very special.
Sometimes it rains and you get a little wet, or the wind blows and you worry that the roof, or even the whole structure, is about to be blown away but still, sitting in the sukkah eating your breakfast and drinking your morning brew of choice, just feels like the right way to start your day, I am not sure why this doesn’t work for me the rest of summer.
Traditional foods that represent this festival are stuffed food, representing the abundance of a good harvest.
Look in the recipe section of my blog for some ideas for meals and enjoy the festival together with your family and friends.