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Sukkot FAQs

1. What is Sukkot (September 20-27)?

Sukkot, a week-long Jewish Holiday that comes five days after Yom Kippur, celebrates the gathering of the harvest and commemorates the miraculous protection. Sukkot is the plural form of the Hebrew word sukkah, which means a temporary dwelling such as a tent, booth, or hut. English translations of the Bible typically refer to the holiday as the Feast of Tabernacles or Feast of Booths. The sukkah represents the temporary dwellings in which the Israelites lived while wandering in the desert after the Lord brought them out of Egypt. 

2. What are the modern traditions of Sukkot?

The main Sukkot tradition is to build a temporary structure, known as a sukkah. The sukkah can be made of different materials, although there are Jewish traditions regulating its construction to show the transient nature of the building. Each sukkah must have at least two walls, because the inhabitants must “dwell” in the structure for a week (Lev. 23:42). Tradition defines “dwelling” as eating the daily meals in the sukkah, but it is also common to sleep in the sukkah in climates and circumstances where it is possible to do so.

The top of the sukkah is covered with a natural material, such as palm fronds. The roof should allow the inhabitants to view the stars from within the sukkah, in order to remember the Israelites’ journey through the desert. It is customary to welcome guests into the sukkah to join in the celebration. Welcoming of guests recalls Abraham’s hospitality when he welcomed guests into his tent.

During Sukkot, Jewish people also wave the four species the lulav and etrog.

3. What kinds of foods are eaten on Sukkot?

There are no traditional foods eaten on Sukkot except for kreplach (stuffed dumplings). Sukkot meal inspiration can come from the harvest origin of the holiday, and meals can include fresh fruits and vegetables, or other harvest-related ingredients. Of course, challah, chicken soup, and kugels are traditional Jewish foods that can be served on Sukkot (or any time of the year).

4. What are the four species of the Lulav? 

According to Jewish mysticism, each attribute of these four species, which are all bound and waved together, have a special meaning.

  • The etrog has a good taste and fragrance and represents a person with both Torah knowledge and good deeds.
  • The myrtle has a good fragrance but cannot be eaten and represents a person who does good deeds but lacks Torah wisdom.
  • The date palm is edible but has not smell and represents a person with Torah wisdom not no good deeds.
  • The willow has neither taste or smell and represents a person devoid of both positive attributes.

Useful phrases

Impress your Jewish colleagues and friends or simply stop a stranger in the street and rattle off a few of these (reasonably) easy to use phrases during Sukkot:

Chag Sameach = Happy Sukkot

Hallel = Praise+

Iulav = palm branch

Shemini Atzeret = the Eight Day of Gathering

Zman Simchateinu = the time of our rejoicing

Source: Chosen People Ministries


*The Interfaith room is located on the 3rd floor of the Gatton Student Center. 


1-Sept Tuesday Ecclesiastical Year Begins Orthodox Christian
8-Sept Tuesday Nativity of Virgin Mary Christian
14-Sept Monday Elevation of the Life Giving Cross (Holy Cross) Christian
19-20 Sept Saturday-Sunday Rosh Hashanah Jewish
21-Sept Monday Paryushana Parva Jain
23-Sept Wednesday Equinox Wicca/Pagan
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3-9 Oct Saturday-Friday Sukkot Jewish
4-Oct Sunday

St. Francis Day

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