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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?

This is not a public holiday in the United States. Most businesses, schools, and offices are open and follow regular hours, but Jewish-run businesses and organizations might be closed.

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).

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 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 Type
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
2021TueSep 21First Day of SukkotJewish holiday
2022MonOct 10First Day of SukkotJewish holiday
2023SatSep 30First Day of SukkotJewish holiday
2024ThuOct 17First Day of SukkotJewish holiday
2025TueOct 7First Day of SukkotJewish holiday
2026SatSep 26First Day of SukkotJewish 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.