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Guide to Shavuot

by: Caroline Westbrook - Last updated: 2012-10-04



Your easy to understand guide to Jewish feativals.

Shavuot (Pentecost)

Shavuot takes places seven weeks after Passover (usually around late May/early June) and commemorates Moses being given the Ten Commandments by God following the Exodus from Egypt.

The festival lasts for two days and requires relatively little advance preparation compared to some of the other Yom Tovim; however, it is traditional to eat dairy products, as when the Jews were awaiting the arrival of their commandments and were unsure as to what their new dietary laws would be, they ate only dairy products and vegetables, to avoid eating the meat of any animals which might be forbidden.

Cheesecake is a particular favourite at this time of year, and many people steer clear of meat altogether. The synagogue is decorated with flowers for the festival's duration in celebration of the giving of the commandments.

There are few other customs associated with the festival, although some ultra-orthodox Jews often stay up all night on the first night to study the Bible.