Tu Bishvat is a Jewish holiday, which in the Hebrew lunisolar calendar takes place on 15th of Shevat. In Hebrew, "Tu" is the number 15 and the name of the festival thus corresponds to the date on which it is celebrated. The equivalent of this date in the Western calendar, the Gregorian calendar, varies from year to year. In 2012, Tu Bishvat falls on February 8.
Tu Bishvat is called the New Year for Trees because it is a festival celebrating the rebirth of nature because in Israel. Though it may not feel like it with this cold weather, this holiday marks the end of winter in the Jewish faith!
In Israel, the custom for Tu Bishvat is to plant thousands of saplings, illustrating the close relationship between man and nature. For people of the Jewish faith who can't make it to the tree planting in Israel, they can make a donation for a tree to be planted on their behalf.
This holiday is typically celebrated with fruit, most commonly grapes, pomegranates, figs, dates, olives, fruit of the carob, and almonds. The feast is to include at least fifteen different kinds of fruit on the table, with rare and exotic fruits being enthusiastically encouraged.
And, because we can't resist trivia, here are two interesting facts about trees in the Jewish faith:
- Jewish custom is to plant a cedar tree at the birth of a boy and a cypress tree upon the birth of a daughter. So Tu Bishvat is not the only day of the year to plant a sacred tree!
- In Judiasm, the tree is a metaphor of the human being and therefore it is not to be used in wartime to make weapons.
Happy Tu Bishvat to all our Jewish friends!
Nature is Beautiful
Make Trees Grow