Home   Calendar   Holidays   United States   First Day of Sukkot
Flag for USA

What Is Sukkot?

Known as the Feast of Tabernacles, Sukkot recalls the biblical story of the Jewish people´s years of wandering in the desert after their exodus from Egypt.

Sukkot celebrations are held in festive, temporary backyard shelters called "sukkah."

© iStockphoto.com/chameleonseye

Is Sukkot a Public Holiday?

While this is not a public holiday in the United States, some Jewish-run organizations are closed during Sukkot.

When Is Sukkot?

Sukkot is observed for seven days starting on the fifteenth day of the month of Tishrei in the Hebrew calendar, which falls in September or October in the Gregorian calendar.

A Sukkah to Recall Wandering

Also known as the Feast of the Booths, this holiday recalls an important story of suffering from the book of Exodus. For forty years, the Israelites wandered in the desert after fleeing from Egypt, taking shelter in temporary dwellings before finding a homeland in Canaan.

To recall that time of trial, Jewish families usually construct a sukkah, or primitive shelter, out of palm branches, bamboo, pine, and other wood to host guests for meals.


These simple structures are also meant to represent the huts used by farmers to shelter from the Sun in the fields, so the celebration is also thought of as a form of harvest festival. The timing of Sukkot matches the end of the harvest season in Israel.

Open Sky

Sukkot shelters and rituals have some unique features with symbolic meanings in Judaism. For example, all sukkah must have holes in the roof to be able to view the sky, or God's heaven, as a reminder that the divine is the only true form of security.

The Four Species

Each day of the festival features a waving ceremony with the Four Species—four plants mentioned in the Torah as being connected to Sukkot. They are:

  1. Palm (lulav)
  2. Willow (aravah)
  3. Myrtle (hadass)
  4. Citron or citrus fruit (etrog)

Religious Jews tie together bundles of branches of these species, and wave them while reciting prayers (except on Shabbat, or the sabbath) during the holiday.

While there are no particular foods associated with Sukkot, stuffed dumplings known as kreplach and fresh fruits and vegetables are often served to guests in the sukkah.

Beating the Willows

At the end of the holiday, a special ritual takes place at the synagogue. The Torah, or holy scriptures, are taken from the ark and worshippers circle the temple seven times while praying. The service concludes with a blessing and a traditional beating of a willow branch on the earth to call for rainfall and a good harvest.

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 two days to make sure 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
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
2027SatOct 16First Day of SukkotJewish holiday
2028ThuOct 5First 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.