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Shavuot in Canada

Many Jewish Canadians 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. Businesses have normal opening hours.

Wheat in the field

Shavuot is a Jewish festival that has both historical and agricultural importance.

©iStockphoto.com/Tal Naveh

What Do People Do?

Many Jewish communities in Canada take part in various traditions to mark Shavuot. Dairy products are traditionally eaten on this day. Some dairy meals may include cheesecake, savory goat cheese strudel, or cheese blintzes (thin pancakes containing cheese). Some people use this time to revisit the Ten Commandments and reflect on the meaning behind each of the commandments. Shavuot also celebrates the bikurim, which is the first fruits that were brought as offerings to the ancient Temple in Jerusalem, so some people make meals out of fruit, including fruit salad.

Many Jewish people read the Book of Ruth and some stay up throughout the night to read the Torah (the five books of Moses). 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 federal public holiday in Canada. 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.

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2015SunMay 24ShavuotJewish holiday
2016SunJun 12ShavuotJewish holiday
2017WedMay 31ShavuotJewish holiday
2018SunMay 20ShavuotJewish holiday
2019SunJun 9ShavuotJewish holiday
2020FriMay 29ShavuotJewish holiday
2021MonMay 17ShavuotJewish holiday
2022SunJun 5ShavuotJewish holiday
2023FriMay 26ShavuotJewish holiday
2024WedJun 12ShavuotJewish holiday
2025MonJun 2ShavuotJewish holiday

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