The Jewish holiday Tu B’Shvat is one of the four Jewish “New Years” and usually falls on the second full moon before the Jewish holiday Passover, or in a leap year, the third. The purpose of this special day is to calculate the age of the trees for the purpose of tithing. Trees signify growth, renewal and the continuity of life. In the life cycle of a fruit tree, Jews are not supposed to eat from the tree for the first three years of its life. The fruit from the fourth year is for G-d, and after that, the fruit can finally be eaten by all. Hence this is a very important Jewish holiday, because after calculating the trees age, you’ll know if it’s old enough to bear fruit deemed edible.
The Jewish holiday Tu B’Shvat is also a day which Jews reaffirm the connection to the land of Israel. The deep roots of the tree symbolize the bond that Jews everywhere feel for the Holy Land. The Jewish holiday is also about cultivating and restoring the land, appreciating nature’s gifts and deeply considering the Source of Everything.
Celebrating Tu B’Shvat
In recent years, the Jewish holiday has come to be an ecological celebration, especially in Israel, where planting a tree is a large part of the celebration. In Israel, the flowering of the almond tree usually coincides with the holiday. In accordance with the agricultural nature of the Jewish holiday, traditional eats include dried fruits and nuts, especially figs, dates, raisins, carob and almonds. Yummy! (Not to mention healthy.)
Plant a Tree!
Whether you have a green thumb or need a little practice in your gardening skills, the Jewish holiday Tu B’Shvat is a great way to get connected with the Earth.