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What are the Three Pilgrimage Festivals in Judaism?

Images of the Three Pilgrimage Festivals

There are three important festivals in Judaism.

Just knowing these three religious observances will help you understand Judaism.

Those three important festivals are the following:

  • Passover
  • Sukkot
  • Shavuot

What do these three festivals mean to the Jewish people?

Let's take a look at what they mean!

What is Passover?

Passover or Pesach is a Jewish religious holiday.

The meal eaten at this time includes

  • Matzah: unleavened bread
  • Seder: a ceremonial supper

Jewish celebrate Passover with a menu like this.

Passover lasts one week, and the starting date is based on the Jewish calendar, which shifts between March and April each year.

This is because the Jewish calendar is a lunisolar calendar.

Anonymous image

What is the lunisolar calendar?

If you're wondering so,

What is a lunisolar calendar?

Please read this article as well.

The Origin of Passover

Passover has its origins in the events that took place in ancient Egypt in the 12th chapter of "Book of Exodus" in the Old Testament.

It is the story of Moses' rescue of the Israelites who were enslaved in Egypt.

To learn more about this story,

Please take a look at this article.

To briefly explain the story, the Israelites have been oppressed as slaves in Egypt since the time of Joseph.

Later, God sent 80-year-old Moses to lead the people to the Promised Land.

But then Pharaoh of Egypt interfered.

God image

Damn you, you're in my way...! I will bring ten plagues upon Egypt!

And God brought the plagues.

That tenth plague was the following:

God image

Shooting the first born child, whether human or animal.

God image

Because I have decided to bring a plague on any house that does not have a sign on the door.

God told Moses so.

Hearing God's message from Moses, the Israelites marked their doorways and passed over the calamity.

This is the origin of the name "Passover".

Thus, Passover became as important a holiday for the Jewish people as the "Sukkot" in the fall.

The original origin of this festival was a festival to ward off evil when nomads moved from winter to summer in search of lodgings.

Originally, it had nothing to do with Passover.

However, it became associated with the Passover legend in the Book of Exodus and became a Jewish festival.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread also had nothing to do with Passover.

It was just an agricultural festival, but since the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread had the custom of eating seedless bread and were held close to each other, they were eventually combined and became a single festival.

Biblical Passover

In the Old Testament, the Passover is described as follows:

Abib (Nisan) 10 days

A male lamb or goat without blemish shall be selected and divided.

(Exodus 12:5)

Abib (Nisan) 14th.

He shall slaughter the lamb (or goat) and hang its blood on the two doorposts of the house and on the top of the doorway.

(Exodus 12:6-7)

Abib (Nisan) 15th (the date changes at sunset)

At night its meat shall be roasted and eaten with unleavened yeast bread (matzah) and bitter greens (maror). It is forbidden to eat it raw or boiled.

(Exodus, 12:8-9)

Even in modern Judaism and Christianity, there is a custom of eating unleavened bread at sacrament ceremonies.

Orthodox and Eastern churches, on the other hand, use fermented bread with yeast in the Eucharistic rite.

Any leftover meat must be burned off by fire. It must not be left until morning.

(Exodus, 12:10)

In the Feast of Unleavened Bread,

It must be celebrated from generation to generation as a festival to God.

(Exodus 12:14)

You must not eat bread with yeast for seven days from the evening of the 14th to the evening of the 21st.

(Verses 15, 18)

No work shall be done on the first and seventh holy days.

(Verse 16)

As for the regulations for the Feast of Unleavened Bread, there are many things that determine the time.

On the other hand, some Passovers are still practiced today, while others are not.

The Modern Passover

In accordance with the Bible, Judaism still observes Passover (the Feast of Unleavened Bread), and most Jews participate in it today.

During the festival, they read books about the "Exodus" and many of the men wear a "kippah", a hat without a rim, as a sign of piety.

Passover Meal

When Moses, in the book of Exodus, led the Jews to flee,

Pharaoh image

Wait, I will not let you escape...!

From the pursuit of the king of Egypt, they had to flee quickly.

At that moment, they didn't have enough time to puff out the bread and wait for it.

Prophet image

They ate the bread without yeast as it was

It is said that

Passover week at the end of March and beginning of April.

People image

We must not forget the memory of this time...!

Jews do not eat bread swollen with yeast.

The prayer that the organizers say at the Passover table includes the following word.

Prophet image

Even if in a different land this year, next year in Jerusalem!

Jews scattered all over the world have been uttering the word for thousands of years.

People image

Rebuild our homeland in the Land of Israel!

This led to the Zionist movement.

Incidentally, Passover is said to resemble the Japanese New Year, and this theory is one of the bases for the theory of "Japanese-Jewish common ancestry theory".

Anonymous image

What is the "Japanese-Jewish common ancestry theory"?

If you are wondering so,

What is the "Japanese-Jewish common ancestry theory"?

Please also see this article.

What is Sukkot?

Sukkot is a Jewish festival generally held around October on the solar calendar.

It is derived from the fact that the ancestors of the Jews built and lived in temporary houses, or temporary hermitages, during the festival to commemorate the time when they lived in tents in the wilderness during their exodus from Egypt.

The Old Testament has a proper provision for this festival.

In the Book of Leviticus,

The festival lasts seven days, with an assembly on the eighth day to offer sacrifices.

The first and eighth days are the Sabbath, so no work is allowed.

This time of year is also celebrated as the "Autumn Harvest Festival" because of the abundant fruit harvest in the fall in the Palestinian region.

From the first day, everyone lives in temporary hermitages (hypothetical houses) for seven days.

In the past, a "burnt offering" was offered daily, but no sacrifices have been made since the fall of the temple.

In the time of Jesus Christ, during Sukkot, every day, twice each night, people would go to the Temple of Jerusalem to draw water from the city ponds in golden vessels.

The water was then poured on the altar with the offerings during the sacrifice.

Even in modern Israel, temporary hermitages are set up everywhere during Sukkot.

What is Shavuot?

Shavuot is a Jewish festival.

It is one of the three pilgrimage festivals along with Passover and Sukkot.

It takes place in May or June of the solar calendar and is a three-day festival that begins about seven weeks after Passover.

It commemorates the Israelites' departure from Egypt and God's giving of the Law at Mount Sinai 49 days later.

These are the so-called "Ten Commandments".

To learn more about the Ten Commandments given by God,

Please also read this article.

Shavuot is also an agricultural festival to give thanks for the spring harvest.

Basically, the day of this festival is the Sabbath, and instead of being forbidden to work, the following things are done:

  • Study of the Torah
  • Recitation of the Book of Lutz

It is also forbidden to use meat in meals, and dairy products are eaten instead.

In Christianity, it is said that the Holy Spirit descended on the day of Shavuot.

This episode of the descent of the Holy Spirit is called "Pentecost".

And Christians celebrate Shavuot as Pentecost.

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