Tu B’Shevat is a Jewish holiday celebrated by the Jews every year as the New Year for trees. Jewish people nowadays, religious and secular are observing this day around the world by simply planting trees in tribute to their friends and families. It also has become a tree-planting festival in Israel and they regard it as a biological and environmental awareness day for preservation of trees.
Tu B’Shevat Ideas and Beliefs
Tu B’Shevat is the 15th day of the month, Shevat in the Hebrew calendar which connotes different ideas and beliefs in accordance to the observance of the day.
The Holy Scripture generally affirms an unequivocal sense of esteem and honor for the seeds and fruits which establishes one of God’s extravagant nature, prosperity and abundance.
The 15th of the month of Shevat is traditionally viewed and well-thought-out as the time which indicates that the winter days has come to end and the beginning of a more blessed and splendid springtime has arrived in Israel. The blossoms of almond trees also indicate this day. Some scholars believed that Tu B’Shevat is a folk festival.
Tu B’Shevat is also associated with Agricultural festival, which patterns the beginning of spring where almond trees are the first one that ripens. It is also a time of prayer for trees to increase and be bountiful. This day also evokes the honor and respect to the land Israel, because on this day the vitality and potency of the soil in the land is regenerated.
Tu B’Shevat Customs and Ceremonials
In the middle ages, Tu B’Shevat is celebrated as feast for fruits in keeping the holiday as “New Year” The Rabbis instituted a Tu B’Shevat seder or memorial meal in which the fruits and trees in Israel were become symbols of the holiday. These are the seven fruits mentioned in Deutoronomy 8:8: grapes, barley, wheat, figs, pomegranates, dates and olives. These fruits are dried and arranged in a platter together with almonds and eaten while reciting a blessing on a joyful occasion. Some Jewish have a custom of eating Carobs, a kind of legumes, dried and used as substitute for chocolate which is ideal for traveling in Jerusalem.
In the contemporary Israel, the Jews observe this day in resemblance to the Arbor Day where sowing and propagating of trees and its conservation is the focal interest of the people. Jewish people celebrate it with joy and with gratitude for the trees that God has predominantly created for mankind to tend, keep and guard.
Israel regards the trees in their nation as an emblem of God’s restoration and revival of Israel’s land and the Jewish people truly attached with it. It is the only country where forests, instead of wastelands are flourishing. As it beautifies the land of Israel, it stops weathering and erosion, as well as air and noise pollution in the land.
Plenty of fruits are eaten by the Jews during this day, not just those indicated in the Holy Scripture. Some are preparing a meal with these fruits as their ingredients.