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Lag B'Omer 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
Some Jewish communities organize bonfires on Lag B'Omer.
©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).

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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