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Holiday of Sukkot Begins Sunday, Oct. 13


A sukkah from a previous celebration is shown.

The Jewish Festival of Sukkot begins at sunset Sunday, Oct. 13, and lasts until dusk Monday, Oct. 21.

The holiday will bring the construction of a large bamboo hut on the Plaza Level Terrace. The hut is called a sukkah, a temporary shelter that serves as a hub of the weeklong celebration.

The holiday of Sukkot (pronounced soo-COAT) is based on a verse in Leviticus, which commands observant Jews to live in temporary shelters for seven days and seven nights. The ephemeral nature of the sukkah (SOO-kah) commemorates the 40 years during which the Israelites wandered the Sinai Desert after escaping from captivity in Egypt.

During the weeklong celebration, Jews eat and sometimes sleep in the sukkah. Each sukkah must have at least three walls and be large enough to dwell in. The roof must be made from materials that were grown in the ground, such as wood, thatch or bamboo, with the pieces spaced wide enough apart to see the stars.

The holiday ends with the festival Simchat Torah, where traditionally Jews dance in their synagogues with the Torah scrolls.