Lag BaOmer in the United States
Many Jewish people in the United States observe Lag B’Omer, also known as Lag BaOmer, on the 18th day of the month of Iyar in the Jewish calendar. The name of this observance means refers to the 33rd day of the counting of the Omer.
What Do People Do?
Jewish communities in the United States may celebrate Lag B’Omer by having bonfires for family and friends, while some Jewish people may choose to get married on this day. This is because mourning practices that occur during the Omer period are lifted on this date.
Some Jewish boys may not have their hair cut until they are three years old, when they begin to learn the Torah. Many wait until Lag B’Omer to have the ceremony, known as Upsherin, for this occasion. Some children play with bows, which represent rainbows. Some people eat carobs on this day in memory of a story about a carob tree that miraculously grew to provide sustenance for a rabbi known as Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai (whose teacher was Rabbi Akiba) and his son Elazar.
Lag B’Omer is not a federal public holiday in the United States. Government offices, organizations, public transit services, and educational institutions operate to their usual schedules.
The name of this Jewish observance refers to the 33rd day of the counting of the Omer. An “omer” refers to a sheaf of barley or wheat. In the book of Leviticus, it is written that God commanded people to make an offering of a sheaf of barley on each of the 50 days between Passover and Shavuot. The day number was announced after the evening service, and in time this ceremony came to be known as the “counting of the Omer”.
The reason why the 33rd day of this period was singled out may have something to do with an ancient pagan festival that was celebrated at the same time. Another story claims that a plague attacked Rabbi Akiba’s students in the second century CE suddenly stopped on this day. Many Jewish people also mark this date by remembering the death of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, who was one of Rabbi Akiva's students. In any case, this observance represents a break in the season between Passover and Shavuot.
About Lag BaOmer in other countriesRead more about Lag BaOmer.
Lag BaOmer ObservancesNote: Jewish holidays begin at sundown the day before the date specified for the holiday.
|Weekday||Date||Year||Name||Holiday Type||Where It is Observed|
|Sun||May 2||2010||Lag BaOmer||Jewish holiday|
|Sun||May 22||2011||Lag BaOmer||Jewish holiday|
|Thu||May 10||2012||Lag BaOmer||Jewish holiday|
|Sun||Apr 28||2013||Lag BaOmer||Jewish holiday|
|Sun||May 18||2014||Lag BaOmer||Jewish holiday|
|Thu||May 7||2015||Lag BaOmer||Jewish holiday|
|Thu||May 26||2016||Lag BaOmer||Jewish holiday|
|Sun||May 14||2017||Lag BaOmer||Jewish holiday|
|Thu||May 3||2018||Lag BaOmer||Jewish holiday|
|Thu||May 23||2019||Lag BaOmer||Jewish holiday|
|Tue||May 12||2020||Lag BaOmer||Jewish holiday|
Quick FactsMany Jewish Americans observe Lag B’Omer on the 18th day of the month of Iyar in the Jewish calendar.
Lag BaOmer 2016Thursday, May 26, 2016
Lag BaOmer 2017Sunday, May 14, 2017
Name in other languages
Other holidays in May 2017 in the United States
- Law Day – Monday, May 1, 2017
- Yom Ha'atzmaut – Tuesday, May 2, 2017
- Kent State Shootings Remembrance – Thursday, May 4, 2017
- Cinco de Mayo – Friday, May 5, 2017
- National Nurses Day – Saturday, May 6, 2017
- Truman Day – Monday, May 8, 2017
- State Holiday – Wednesday, May 10, 2017
- Mother's Day – Sunday, May 14, 2017
- Peace Officers Memorial Day – Monday, May 15, 2017
- National Defense Transportation Day – Friday, May 19, 2017
- Armed Forces Day – Saturday, May 20, 2017
- National Maritime Day – Monday, May 22, 2017
- Emergency Medical Services for Children Day – Wednesday, May 24, 2017
- Ascension Day – Thursday, May 25, 2017
- Ramadan starts – Saturday, May 27, 2017
- Memorial Day – Monday, May 29, 2017
- Shavuot – Wednesday, May 31, 2017