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Lag B'Omer 2024 in the United Kingdom

Jewish people in the United Kingdom celebrate Lag BaOmer, or Lag B'Omer, on the 18th day of Iyar, which falls in April or May. It is dedicated to the memory of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, a 2nd-century Jewish scholar.

Lag BaOmer bonfire

©iStockphoto.com/Greg Nicholas

Lag BaOmer in the Jewish Calendar

Lag BaOmer is celebrated on the 18th day of Iyar, the second month of the Jewish calendar. The date falls into April or May in the Gregorian calendar.

Is Lag BaOmer a Public Holiday?

No, Lag BaOmer is not a bank holiday in the UK.

How Is Lag BaOmer Celebrated in the UK?

Lag BaOmer is a day of celebration that occurs on the 33rd day of a mourning period called the Counting of the Omer, which covers the 49 days between Passover and Shavuot. On this day, Jewish communities in the UK organize a wide variety of events. Among them are traditional Lag BaOmer parades, barbecues, bonfires, or art activities for children.

Why Is Lag BaOmer Celebrated?

On Lag BaOmer, Jewish people traditionally celebrate a historic event that occurred during the time of Rabbi Akiva, a scholar and teacher of Jewish law who lived approximately during the years 50 to 135 CE. According to a number of historic documents, a “plague” had killed thousands of his students—but on the 33rd day of the Counting of the Omer, it suddenly stopped.

Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai was among the students the plague had spared. Today revered as a key Jewish scholar of his time, he died on the same date, the 33rd day of the Omer, some years later.

Who Celebrates Lag BaOmer in the UK?

The United Kingdom is estimated to have the 5th largest Jewish population in the world, with just under 300,000 people practicing the Jewish faith in the country.

By far the largest British Jewish community is found in London, followed by those in Manchester and Leeds.

History of Jews in the UK

Jewish settlement in England can be traced as far back as the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066. The Jewish community outnumbered the Spanish and Portuguese communities in England by the 18th century.

Many Jewish families in Eastern Europe moved to England to escape persecution and hardship between 1881 and 1914. About 150,000 Jewish people settled in England, with large numbers staying at London's East End during that time. England continued to receive Jewish immigrants escaping persecution around the time of World War II (1939-1945).

Jewish Holidays Last Longer Outside of Israel

In the Jewish diaspora—Jewish communities outside of Israel—an extra day is usually added to religious observances, with the exception of Yom Kippur, which lasts only one day worldwide, and Rosh Hashana, which is celebrated over two days in both Israel and the diaspora.

This custom has its roots in ancient times when the beginning of the months in the Jewish calendar still relied on the sighting of the crescent Moon following a New Moon.

The beginning of a new month was determined by the Sanhedrin, the supreme court of ancient Israel in Jerusalem. Once the date was published, messengers were dispatched to spread the news among Jews living abroad. Since this process took some time, it was decreed that Jews outside of ancient Israel were to observe every holiday for 2 days to make sure that the rules and customs applicable to each holiday were observed on the proper date. This rule is still observed today.

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 Type
2018ThuMay 3Lag B'OmerJewish Holiday
2019ThuMay 23Lag B'OmerJewish Holiday
2020TueMay 12Lag B'OmerJewish Holiday
2021FriApr 30Lag B'OmerJewish Holiday
2022ThuMay 19Lag B'OmerJewish Holiday
2023TueMay 9Lag B'OmerJewish Holiday
2024SunMay 26Lag B'OmerJewish Holiday
2025FriMay 16Lag B'OmerJewish Holiday
2026TueMay 5Lag B'OmerJewish Holiday
2027TueMay 25Lag B'OmerJewish Holiday
2028SunMay 14Lag B'OmerJewish Holiday

While we diligently research and update our holiday dates, some of the information in the table above may be preliminary. If you find an error, please let us know.