What is Shavuot?

Shavuot - Recipes and Meaning Behind the Holiday

Moses on Mount Sinai – Jean-Léon Gérôme -1895-1900.  Source: Wikimedia Commons


Click Here for Shavuot Recipes

What is Shavuot?

Shavuot (Feast of Weeks) commemorates the revelation of the Torah on Mt. Sinai to the Jewish people, and occurs on the 50th day after the 49 days of counting the Omer. Shavuot is one of the three biblically based pilgrimage holidays known as the shalosh regalim. It is associated with the grain harvest in the Torah.

How is Shavuot celebrated?

Shavuot is observed by abstaining from work and attending synagogue services. A few special readings are recited: a liturgical poem called Akdamut, which emphasizes the greatness of God; the Book of Ruth, because the story highlights one woman’s choice to join the Jewish people and accept the Torah; and the Ten Commandments, in honor of the revelation of the Torah. It is also customary to study Torah all night; this practice is called Tikkun Leil Shavuot.

What kinds of foods are eaten on Shavuot?

Traditional holiday meals on Shavuot center around dairy foods. Milk is considered to be a symbol of the Torah, which nourishes the people directly, as milk does for a baby. Popular Shavuot foods include cheesecake, blintzes, and kugels. Some Sephardic Jews make a seven-layered bread called siete cielos (seven heavens), which is supposed to represent Mt. Sinai.

What is the proper greeting for Shavuot?

The greeting for Shavuot is simply “Chag Sameach!” (Happy Holiday).

When is Shavuot?

Shavuot is observed on the 6th to 7th of the month of Sivan.

Shavuot occurs on the following dates:

Jewish Year 5773: Sunset May 14, 2013 – Nightfall May 16, 2013

Jewish Year 5774: Sunset June 3, 2014 – Nightfall June 5, 2014

Jewish Year 5775: Sunset May 23, 2015 – Nightfall May 25, 2015

 Jewish Year 5777: Sunset June 11, 2016 – Nightfall June 13, 2016

Jewish Year 5778: Sunset May 30, 2017 – Nightfall June 1, 2017

Jewish Year 5779: Sunset May 19, 2018 – Nightfall May 21, 2018

Jewish Year 5780: Sunset June 8, 2019 – Nightfall June 10, 2019

Jewish Year 5781: Sunset May 28, 2020 – Nightfall May 30, 2020

Jewish Year 5782: Sunset May 16, 2021 – Nightfall May 18, 2021

Comments (9)Post a Comment

  1. Preparing an article for my congregation, I included, of course, the Ashkenazi custom of serving dairy foods on Shavuot, but couldn’t find any mention of genuine Sephardic cuisine for this holiday until i opened yours!! How great!! I’m going to suggest that my congregants, almost all who are born Jewish, turn to your website for simple clear explanations of Jewish customs and practices!
    Thanks Tori

  2. making the sweet lokhen kugel for dairy meal after services on sunday. can’t wait to try your receipe. mar

Leave a Comment

Please read through the entire post and comments section before asking a question, as it may have already been answered. First time commenting? Read the comment policy.