Festivals in Israel

There are quite a few Jewish holidays. A Jewish holiday begins at sunset and ends at sunset the next day, so the start of a  holiday begins a day earlier than the calendar indicates. The dates of the Jewish holidays change each year because they are based on the Jewish lunar calendar:

·        January / Feb - Toe Bishevat: The New Year for Trees. It is customary to eat many different fruits on this day.

·        February / March - Purim: The Feast of Lots. A sort of carnival with parades and masquerades.

·        April - Pesah: Spring festival commemorating the exodus from Egypt.

·        April - Mimouna: North African Jewish festival celebrated on the last day of Passover with picnics and barbecues.

·        May / June - Shavuot: Pentecost to commemorate the handover of the Torah to Moses on Mount Sinai. It is a harvest festival.

·        July / August - gnostic be- Av: day of fasting and singing dirges. Commemoration of the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem.

·        September - Rosh Hashanah: Jewish New Year.

·        Sept / Oct - Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Falls on the tenth day of the New Year and is a day of fasting. Traffic is prohibited for 24 hours.

·        Sept / Oct - Sukkot: The Feast of Tabernacles takes seven days and ends with Simhat Torah, a day with music and dance.

·        December - Channoeka: the Festival of Lights. People eat special dishes like sufganiot, similar to donuts.

Muslims and Christians have their own holidays. Islamic holidays follow the Islamic lunar calendar, which moves ten days per year. Main festivals are: Islamic New Year, birthday of the Prophet Muhammad, the fasting month of Ramadan, Eid al- Fitr ( Eid ) as a conclusion to the month of fasting and Eid al - Adha ( Feast of Sacrifice ) which commemorates Ibrahims willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac to God. This festival usually happens simultaneously with the end of the great pilgrimage to Mecca, the Hajj. For Christians, Christmas, Easter and Ascension are the most important holidays. The Eastern Orthodox churches do not celebrate Christmas on December 25, but on January 7, Armenians on January 19.

Important non - religious holidays:

·        March 8 - International Women's Day, celebrated by Palestinians.

·        March 30 - Day of the Land. Palestinian protest day against Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

·        April - Yom Ha Shoah: Day commemorating the Shoah, the annihilation of six million Jews during World War II.

·        April 17 - Palestinian Prisoners Day: in memory of Palestinians in Israeli jails.

·        April 24 - Armenian Holocaust Day.

·        May 1 - Labour Day for Palestinian workers.

·        April / May - Yom Hazikaron: In commemoration of fallen soldiers in various Israeli conflicts. Takes place on the day before Independence Day.

·        April / May - Yom Ha - atsemoet: Independence celebration of the birth of the state of Israel.

·        May 15 - Nakba Day: traditionally the memory of the destroyed Palestinian heritage in Israel.

·        June 4 - Liberation of Jerusalem: Commemoration of the" reunification" of Jerusalem after the 1967 war.

·        November 4 - Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Day: In commemoration of the assassinated Prime Minister Rabin.

·        November 15 - Palestinian independence in 1988.

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