Shavuot in United States

Quick Facts

Shavuot, also known as the Festival of Weeks, is one of three major Jewish festivals.

Local names

NameLanguage
ShavuotEnglish
ShavuotSpanish
שבועותHebrew
عيد الأسابيعArabic
오순절Korean
SchawuotGerman

Alternative name

Feast of Weeks

Shavuot 2014

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Shavuot 2015

Sunday, May 24, 2015
Note: Jewish holidays begin at sundown the day before the date specified for the holiday.
List of dates for other years

Many Jewish Americans observe Shavuot, which is the second of three major Jewish festivals that focus on historical and agricultural importance. The other two are Passover and Sukkot. Shavuot follows Passover by 50 days. Shavuot occurs on the sixth day of the month of Sivan in the Jewish calendar.

Girl in wheat field

Shavuot is a Jewish festival of both historical and agricultural importance.

©iStockphoto.com/Matan Narkiss

What do people do?

Many Jewish communities in the United States observe special customs on Shavuot. These activities include reading the Book of Ruth or staying up all night to study the Torah (the five books of Moses). Many Jewish people also eat dairy foods during Shavuot. Many homes are decorated with various plants, including those with flowers. Special prayers are made and candles are lit on this day. Jewish confirmations may also take place at this time of the year.

Some Jewish people take some of their annual holiday during this time of the year so they do not need to work on Shavuot. Some sources say that, according to Jewish custom, no work is permitted on Shavuot except cooking, baking, transferring fire and carrying objects or equipment.

Public life

Shavuot is not a federal public holiday in the United States. However, some Jewish people may take some of their annual vacation around this time of the year.

Background

Shavuot is the second of three pilgrim festivals and it follows the Passover by 50 days. It is also known as the Festival of Weeks, the Feast of Weeks, or the Feast of the Harvest because it originally marked the end of the seven weeks of the Passover barley harvest and the beginning of the wheat harvest. At one time, Jewish men were expected to bring their first omer, or sheaf, of barley to the Temple in Jerusalem as a thanksgiving offering.  

After the period of Jewish slavery in Egypt, Shavuot also celebrated Moses’ return from the top of Mt Sinai with the two stone tablets containing the “Ten Commandments”. These commandments are the most fundamental laws of the Jewish faith. Therefore, Shavuot is also known as the Festival of the Giving of the Law.

About Shavuot in other countries

Read more about Shavuot.

Shavuot Observances

Note: Jewish holidays begin at sundown the day before the date specified for the holiday.
WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday typeWhere it is observed
WedMay 301990ShavuotJewish holiday 
SunMay 191991ShavuotJewish holiday 
SunJun 71992ShavuotJewish holiday 
WedMay 261993ShavuotJewish holiday 
MonMay 161994ShavuotJewish holiday 
SunJun 41995ShavuotJewish holiday 
FriMay 241996ShavuotJewish holiday 
WedJun 111997ShavuotJewish holiday 
SunMay 311998ShavuotJewish holiday 
FriMay 211999ShavuotJewish holiday 
FriJun 92000ShavuotJewish holiday 
MonMay 282001ShavuotJewish holiday 
FriMay 172002ShavuotJewish holiday 
FriJun 62003ShavuotJewish holiday 
WedMay 262004ShavuotJewish holiday 
MonJun 132005ShavuotJewish holiday 
FriJun 22006ShavuotJewish holiday 
WedMay 232007ShavuotJewish holiday 
MonJun 92008ShavuotJewish holiday 
FriMay 292009ShavuotJewish holiday 
WedMay 192010ShavuotJewish holiday 
WedJun 82011ShavuotJewish holiday 
SunMay 272012ShavuotJewish holiday 
WedMay 152013ShavuotJewish holiday 
WedJun 42014ShavuotJewish holiday 
SunMay 242015ShavuotJewish holiday 
SunJun 122016ShavuotJewish holiday 
WedMay 312017ShavuotJewish holiday 
SunMay 202018ShavuotJewish holiday 
SunJun 92019ShavuotJewish holiday 
FriMay 292020ShavuotJewish holiday 

Other holidays in June 2014 in United States

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