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Tu B'Shevat (Arbor Day) in the United Kingdom

Tu Bishvat, also spelled Tu B'Shevat and Tu BiShevat, is a Jewish celebration dedicated to fruits and trees.

Figs are a fruit associated with Tu BiShvat.

©iStockphoto.com/merc67

Tu BiShvat in the Jewish Calendar

Tu BiShvat is observed on the 15th day of Shevat, the eleventh month of the Jewish calendar. The date falls into January or February in the Gregorian calendar.

Is Tu BiShvat a Public Holiday?

Tu BiShvat is not a public holiday in the UK. However, some Jewish organizations may be closed or offer a limited service to allow for festivities to occur on this day.

How Is Tu BiShvat Celebrated in the UK?

Fruits and trees take center stage on Tu BiShevat. It is customary to eat lots of fruit on the day, especially those traditionally associated with the area Jewish people regard as the Holy Land: grapes, wheat, barley, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates. These types of food also feature heavily in Tu BiShvat seders, celebratory feasts held by Jewish families and communities all around the UK.

Tu BiShvat is also an occasion for Jewish people to taste a new type of fruit, or one they have not eaten yet during the current year.

Another tradition associated with Tu BiShvat is planting a tree or raising funds for charities dedicated to planting trees in Israel.

Why Is Tu BiShvat Celebrated?

Also termed the New Year of the Trees, Tu BiShvat is one of four Jewish New Year Days—the other three falling on the first day of Nisan, the first of Elul, and the first of Tishrei (Rosh Hashana) in the Jewish calendar. It marks the beginning of the agricultural season and was traditionally used as the cut-off date for levying the tithe on fruits from trees.

Who Celebrates Tu BiShvat 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 Tu B'Shevat (Arbor Day) in Other Countries

Read more about Tu B'Shevat (Arbor Day).

Tu B'Shevat (Arbor Day) Observances

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

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2016MonJan 25Tu B'Shevat (Arbor Day)Jewish holiday
2017SatFeb 11Tu B'Shevat (Arbor Day)Jewish holiday
2018WedJan 31Tu B'Shevat (Arbor Day)Jewish holiday
2019MonJan 21Tu B'Shevat (Arbor Day)Jewish holiday
2020MonFeb 10Tu B'Shevat (Arbor Day)Jewish holiday
2021ThuJan 28Tu B'Shevat (Arbor Day)Jewish holiday
2022MonJan 17Tu B'Shevat (Arbor Day)Jewish holiday
2023MonFeb 6Tu B'Shevat (Arbor Day)Jewish holiday
2024ThuJan 25Tu B'Shevat (Arbor Day)Jewish holiday
2025ThuFeb 13Tu B'Shevat (Arbor Day)Jewish holiday
2026MonFeb 2Tu B'Shevat (Arbor Day)Jewish 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.