What Is Tu Bishvat?
The holiday of Tu Bishvat is a minor Jewish Holiday that celebrates the New Year of the Trees. Tu Bishvat is one of four New Years mentioned in the Mishnah, the oral Torah of the Jewish faith. Oddly, the holiday of Tu Bishvat is not mentioned in the Torah itself. Tu Bishvat is celebrated in the Hebrew month of Shevat that occurs usually in late January or early February. In 2010, Tu Bishvat falls on January 29. The term Tu Bishvat comes from the Hebrew date of the holiday as it falls on the 15th of Shevat. Tu stands for 15 in Hebrew numerals and Bishvat is stands for the Hebrew month of Shevat.
Significance of Tu Bishvat
Tu Bishvat occurs during the season with which the early blooming trees in Israel begin to bloom. Tu Bishvat signifies the point where a budding fruit tree is considered to belong to the next year. This is significant because according to Jewish law as proscribed in the Torah, the fruit from trees cannot be eaten during the first three years of a tree’s life and during the fourth year all of the fruit yielded by the tree belongs to God. Only after the fourth year can the fruit of the tree be eaten.
Customs of Tu Bishvat
Even though Tu Bishvat is a minor Jewish holiday, many customs are still celebrated to bring in the New Year of the Trees. The most important of the customs are the planting of trees and the eating of dried fruit and nuts, including figs, dates, raisins, and almonds.
As Tu Bishvat celebrates the fruit taken from trees, one of the most common customs is the planting of trees. On Tu Bishvat, over a million Israelis take part in the tree planting activities and those of Jewish faith around the world also take part in tree planting activities. In keeping with the idea of growth, many of Israel’s major institutions choose Tu Bishvat as their day of inauguration.
Another custom observed on Tu Bishvat is to eat fruits and nuts from the seven types of fruits mentioned in the Torah. These include wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and honey. It is tradition to eat a new fruit every year. Generally, these foods are eaten during a Tu Bishvat Seder, where the Shehecheyanu blessing, a blessing recited on joyous occasions thanking God for “sustaining us and enabling us to reach this point.” Because Tu Bishvat is a joyous occasion, the Tachanun sections of the Seder prayer that petition for forgiveness are omitted.
- The Holiday Of Shavuot
Shavuot is a Jewish Holiday that occurs in late May or early June. Historically Shavuot falls on the sixth day of the Hebrew month of Sivan. Shavuot celebrates the anniversary of the day God gave Moses the...
- Traditional Shavuot Dishes
Shavuot is a Jewish Holiday that celebrates the day that God gave Moses and the Jewish people the Torah on Mount Sinai. Every year in late May or early April, the Jewish people celebrate what is considered...
- Indigenous People's Day in the US
October 12 is generally recognized as the day that Americans and those in the new world celebrate Christopher Columbuss landing and discovery of the Americas. For many, this day marks the beginning...
- The Origins Of Grandparents Day In The United States
Grandparents are wonderful people. To a little kid, grandparents are wise and all knowing and love unconditionally. Generally, they do not set the same amount of rules as the parents and are not above...
More by this Author
Many people believe that Halloween is just a kid’s holiday and that adults should not be dressing up. But why should only kids have the fun? And where do college kids fit in all of this? The...
On May 26, there is an unofficial holiday in Australia called National Sorry Day. The day commemorates the day a national report called “Bringing Them Home” was official handed to the Australian...
Ask any grade school student in New York or Chicago what City is the capital of California; most would likely say Los Angeles or San Francisco. As amazing as it may seem, however, the Capitol of California is the City...