With thanks: Lisette
‘The four species’ used at Succot: a reminder of the agricutural significance of the festival
Today Jews are celebrating the festival of Tabernacles, or Succot.
The holiday lasts seven days in Israel and eight in the diaspora. The first day (and second day in the diaspora) is a Shabbat-like , when certain work is permitted. The festival is closed with another Shabbat-like holiday called Shemini Atzeret (one day in Israel, two days in the diaspora, where the second day is called Simchat Torah).
A sukkah is the name of the temporary dwelling in which farmers would live during harvesting, a fact connecting to the agricultural significance of the holiday stressed by the Book of Exodus. As stated in Leviticus, it is also intended as a reminiscence of the type of fragile dwellings in which the Israelites dwelt during their 40 years of travel in the desert after the Exodus from slavery in Egypt.
Throughout the holiday, meals are eaten inside the sukkah and many people sleep there as well.
For video of an Iraqi piyut, or liturgical song, for Succot, click here