Festivals celebrated by Jews in India!
The Jews have their own holy days. Passover is one of the most important religious festivals in the Jewish calendar.
Jews celebrate the Feast of Passover (Pesach in Hebrew) to commemorate the liberation of the Children of Israel who were led out of Egypt by Moses.
Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year festival and commemorates the creation of the world. It lasts 2 days.
Rosh Hashanah is also a judgement day, when Jews believe that God balances a person’s good deeds over the last year against their bad deeds, and decides what the next year will be like for them. God records the judgement in the Book of Life, where he sets out who is going to live, who is going to die, who will have a good time and who will have a bad time during the next year.
The book and the judgement are finally sealed on Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur, the most sacred and solemn day of the Jewish year, brings the Days of Repentance to a close. On Yom Kippur, God makes the final decision on what the next year will be like for each person. The special day is marked by Jews in several ways: they abstain from food or drink for 25 hours; they do not wear perfume; they abstain from sex; they don’t wash; and they don’t wear leather shoes.
Hanukkah or Chanukah is the Jewish Festival of Lights. It dates back to two centuries before the beginning of Christianity. The festival begins on the 25th day of Kislev and is celebrated for eight days. In the western calendar Hanukkah is celebrated in November or December. The word Hanukkah means rededication and commemorates the Jews’ struggle for religious freedom. The festival marks the phenomenal victory of a group of Jews called the Maccabees over the Syrian Greeks, the most powerful army of the ancient world.
At the end of the three-year war, the Maccabees recaptured Jerusalem and rededicated the temple. Purim commemorates the time when the Jewish people living in Persia were saved from extermination by the courage of a young Jewish woman called Esther.
It is customary to hold carnival-like celebrations on Purim, to perform plays and parodies, and to hold beauty contests. Every week religious Jews observe the Sabbath, the Jewish holy day, and keep its laws and customs. The Sabbath begins at nightfall on Friday and lasts until nightfall on Saturday.
God commanded the Jewish People to observe the Sabbath and keep it holy as the fourth of the Ten Commandments. The idea of a day of rest comes from the Bible story of the Creation: God rested from creating the universe on the seventh day of that first week, so Jews rest from work on the Sabbath.
Jews often call the day Shabbat, which is Hebrew for Sabbath, and which comes from the Hebrew word for rest. Tu B’Shevat is the Jewish ‘New Year for Trees’. It is one of the four Jewish new years (Rosh Hashanahs). On Tu B’Shevat Jews often eat fruits associated with the Holy Land, especially the ones mentioned in the Torah.