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Last Day of Sukkot in the United States

Many Jewish people in the United States mark Hoshana Rabbah (or Hoshana Raba) as the last day of Sukkot (Succot, Succoth, Sukkoth) in their calendars. This day is the end of the Sukkot period, also known as the Feast of Tabernacles. The Sukkot festival is observed during the week starting on 15th day of Tishri (or Tishrei), which is the first month of the year in the Jewish calendar.

Is Last Day of Sukkot a Public Holiday?

Last Day of Sukkot is not a public holiday. It falls on Sunday, October 20, 2019 and most businesses follow regular Sunday opening hours in the United States.

Rabbi holding lulav

One Sukkot tradition is to fulfill the religious duty (mitzvah) of dwelling in the sukkah.

©iStockphoto.com/Tova Teitelbaum

What Do People Do?

Hoshana Rabbah is marked by a special service at the synagogue. During the service, the rolls of the Torah are taken out of their ark and worshippers make seven circuits while holding the four species and reciting Hoshanot (Psalm 118:25). The four species (four plants with symbolic meanings) are waved in proscribed directions after a blessing is recited during Sukkot, except on Shabbat (the Sabbath). People may do this at a synagogue, in the sukkah or at home. The beating of the aravah, a willow branch, is also performed.

Some sources say that it is traditional to wear a kittle (shroud worn on Yom Kippur) on the last day of Sukkot. It is also customary to eat a festive meal in the sukkah in the afternoon to fulfill the religious duty (mitzvah) of dwelling in the sukkah one last time for the year. The heavenly decrees made on Rosh Hashanah (and sealed on Yom Kippur) are sent out on Hoshana Rabbah, according to Jewish belief. The Kabbalah’s main book also says that nations around the world are judged on this day.

Public Life

The last day of Sukkot is not a nationwide public holiday in the United States. However, many Jewish businesses, schools and organizations may be closed or offer a reduced level of service.

Background

The Sukkot period is a time to remember the Jewish people’s wandering in the desert for 40 years following their exodus from Egypt, according to Jewish teachings. It is also a time to celebrate the grape harvest. Some sources claim that Sukkot lasts for about seven days while others state that it is an eight-day festival.

The seventh day of Sukkot is known as Hoshana Rabbah while the eighth day is known as Shmini Atzeret and the day after is called Simchat Torah. Hoshana Rabbah is known as the day of the final sealing of judgment, which began on Rosh Hashanah.

Symbols

An important Sukkot symbol is the sukkah. This is a temporary structure with a roof made of sechach or s'chach, which is raw, unfinished plant material, such as palm branches, bamboo poles, reeds or even corn stalks.

The “four species” are also important symbols of Sukkot and represent the blessings of nature. These are lulav (a green, closed frond of a date palm tree), hadass (twigs and leaves from a myrtle tree), aravah (twigs and leaves from a willow tree) and etrog (a lemon-like fruit of the citron tree).

About Last Day of Sukkot in other countries

Read more about Last Day of Sukkot.

Last Day of Sukkot Observances

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

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2010WedSep 29Last Day of SukkotJewish holiday 
2011WedOct 19Last Day of SukkotJewish holiday 
2012SunOct 7Last Day of SukkotJewish holiday 
2013WedSep 25Last Day of SukkotJewish holiday 
2014WedOct 15Last Day of SukkotJewish holiday 
2015SunOct 4Last Day of SukkotJewish holiday 
2016SunOct 23Last Day of SukkotJewish holiday 
2017WedOct 11Last Day of SukkotJewish holiday 
2018SunSep 30Last Day of SukkotJewish holiday 
2019SunOct 20Last Day of SukkotJewish holiday 
2020FriOct 9Last Day of SukkotJewish holiday 

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