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Shavuot in Australia

Many Jewish Australians 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.

Is Shavuot a Public Holiday?

Shavuot is not a public holiday. It falls on Sunday, June 9, 2019 and most businesses follow regular Sunday opening hours in Australia.

Wheat field
Shavuot is a Jewish festival that has both historical and agricultural significance.
Shavuot is a Jewish festival that has both historical and agricultural significance.
©iStockphoto.com/Tal Naveh

What Do People Do?

Many Jewish Australians celebrate Shavuot by attending social gatherings where they can enjoy a Kiddush (blessing recited over wine or grape juice to sanctify a Jewish holiday), as well as eat dairy products such as with cheesecake or ice cream. Shavuot dinners are also held in Jewish communities in this period. Some dinners feature special guest speakers and discussion topics may focus on the history and meaning of Shavuot.

It is customary for many Jewish people to read the Book of Ruth and study the Torah (the five books of Moses) during Shavuot. Some people also take some of their annual holiday during this time of the year to refrain from 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 public holiday in Australia. However, some Jewish people may take some of their annual leave 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.

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2010WedMay 19ShavuotJewish holiday 
2011WedJun 8ShavuotJewish holiday 
2012SunMay 27ShavuotJewish holiday 
2013WedMay 15ShavuotJewish holiday 
2014WedJun 4ShavuotJewish holiday 
2015SunMay 24ShavuotJewish holiday 
2016SunJun 12ShavuotJewish holiday 
2017WedMay 31ShavuotJewish holiday 
2018SunMay 20ShavuotJewish holiday 
2019SunJun 9ShavuotJewish holiday 
2020FriMay 29ShavuotJewish holiday 

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