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First Day of Sukkot in the United States

Many Jewish communities in the United States celebrate the first day of Sukkot (Succot, Succoth, Sukkoth), which is the start of the Sukkot period. This period, also known as the Feast of Tabernacles, lasts for about seven days. It 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 First Day of Sukkot a Public Holiday?

Although First Day of Sukkot is not a public holiday, businesses and schools may be closed because it falls on the same date as Columbus Day in 2019, which is a public holiday in 36 states.

Rabbi praying on Sukkot

A Rabbi is pictured praying during Sukkot.

©iStockphoto.com/Tova Teitelbaum

What Do People Do?

Many Jewish Americans build a temporary booth known as the sukkah, which is where they eat, sleep and use for the Sukkot period, which lasts for about seven days.  The first day of Sukkot is kept like the Sabbath so many Jewish people do not engage in certain work activities on this day. The rest of the days during the Sukkot period are days when work is permitted.

Many Jewish people in north-east United States hang dry squash and corn in the sukkah to decorate it. These vegetables are sometimes used for Halloween and Thanksgiving afterwards.  Building and decorating a sukkah prior to Sukkot is a fun project for many Jewish Americans, in a similar fashion to decorating the Christmas tree prior to Christmas Day. Many also observe a religious duty, or mitzvah, known as waving the four species (of plants) and reciting a blessing. This deed is usually performed each day during Sukkot (except for the Sabbath).

Public Life

The first day of Sukkot is a 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.

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 First Day of Sukkot in other countries

Read more about First Day of Sukkot.

First Day of Sukkot Observances

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

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2010ThuSep 23First Day of SukkotJewish holiday 
2011ThuOct 13First Day of SukkotJewish holiday 
2012MonOct 1First Day of SukkotJewish holiday 
2013ThuSep 19First Day of SukkotJewish holiday 
2014ThuOct 9First Day of SukkotJewish holiday 
2015MonSep 28First Day of SukkotJewish holiday 
2016MonOct 17First Day of SukkotJewish holiday 
2017ThuOct 5First Day of SukkotJewish holiday 
2018MonSep 24First Day of SukkotJewish holiday 
2019MonOct 14First Day of SukkotJewish holiday 
2020SatOct 3First Day of SukkotJewish holiday 

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