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Lag B'Omer in Canada

Many Jewish people in Canada 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.

Is Lag B'Omer a Public Holiday?

Lag B'Omer is not a public holiday. Businesses have normal opening hours.

Burning Wood
Some Jewish communities in Canada have bonfire events during Lag B'Omer.
Some Jewish communities in Canada have bonfire events during Lag B'Omer.
©iStockphoto.com/Sebastian Santa

What Do People Do?

Lag B’Omer is generally a day of celebration and joy for many Jewish people in Canada because mourning practices that occur during the Omer period are lifted on this date. Many Jewish communities in Canada celebrate Lag B’Omer by hosting various social events. They usually include a bonfire and are held outdoors, particularly if the weather is sunny.

Some of these events take place in the form of street festivals, while others are annual Lag B’Omer family barbecues or picnics that include live music and entertainment. Many Lag B’Omer festivities in Canada include opportunities for adults to socialize and for children to engage in fun activities such as spending time with farm animals. Some Lag B’Omer celebrations that are targeted at young audiences, such as teenagers, feature activities such as paintball games.

Public Life

Lag B’Omer is not a federal public holiday in Canada so many Lag B’Omer events are held after school or work hours (if not during the weekend), usually in the afternoon or early evening. Government offices, organizations, public transit services, and educational institutions operate to their usual schedules.

Background

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 B'Omer in other countries

Read more about Lag B'Omer.

Lag B'Omer Observances

Note: Jewish holidays begin at sundown the day before the date specified for the holiday.

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2010SunMay 2Lag B'OmerJewish holiday 
2011SunMay 22Lag B'OmerJewish holiday 
2012ThuMay 10Lag B'OmerJewish holiday 
2013SunApr 28Lag B'OmerJewish holiday 
2014SunMay 18Lag B'OmerJewish holiday 
2015ThuMay 7Lag B'OmerJewish holiday 
2016ThuMay 26Lag B'OmerJewish holiday 
2017SunMay 14Lag B'OmerJewish holiday 
2018ThuMay 3Lag B'OmerJewish holiday 
2019ThuMay 23Lag B'OmerJewish holiday 
2020TueMay 12Lag B'OmerJewish holiday 

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