Sunday evening marks the beginning of Sukkoth in 2016, the Jewish “Festival of Tabernacles” or “Festival of Booths,” sometimes spelled “Sukkot” or “Succos.” A seven-day festival that closes out the Jewish High Holidays, Sukkoth falls on the 15th day of the month of Tishrei — the seventh month on the ancient Hebrew calendar — and five days after the most sacred day in the Jewish religion, Yom Kippur.
Sukkoth lasts for seven full days. On the first two days of the festival, Jews who observe the holiday are prohibited from engaging in work.
Unlike Yom Kippur, the solemn “Day of Atonement,” Sukkoth is one of the most celebratory, upbeat and warm holidays in Judaism, often referred to as “The Time of Joy.” The festival commemorates the end of the ancient Israelites’ pilgrimage to the Promised Land after their escape from Egypt. As described in the Torah, the Jewish holy book, the Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years, living in makeshift huts. That’s why the mist distinctive feature of Sukkoth is the “sukkah,” a homemade hut in which, throughout the seven-day festival, practicing Jews take all of their meals.
Here’s How To Find Exact Sukkoth Times In Your Area
As with all Jewish holidays, due to the differences between the Jewish calendar measures the year and the modern “Roman” calendar, the start and end of Sukkoth falls on different days every year — according to the modern calendar. Of course, the ancient Israelites also began their “day” at sundown, which means that the start time of any Jewish holiday varies depending on where you live.
This distinction makes a big difference when it comes to celebrating holidays and knowing when all productive work must cease until the holiday is over. So when, exactly, does Sukkoth begin where you are?
Sukkoth starts Sunday evening, October 16. The second day — after which work is again allowed — ends on Tuesday evening, October 18. To find the exact time, the most convenient method is to visit the information-packed web site provided by Chabad, the well-known Orthodox Jewish sect. The Chabad site contains an easy online form for pinpointing the exact minute when Sukkoth begins and ends, almost any place of the face of the Earth.
Find the exact time Sukkoth gets underway, as well as the holiday’s precise conclusion, wherever you happen to be, by clicking on this link.
That takes you to a page displaying Sukkoth times for Jerusalem, Israel. Simply click on the word “change” directly to the right of “Israel,” or on the word “Jerusalem” itself.” You will see a form where you can enter the name of your city, or even your zip code if you’re within the United States.
The page will quickly display your precise Sukkoth times.
For example, if you live in San Diego, California, you would light candles to usher in the Sukkoth holiday at 5:56 p.m. on Sunday, October 16. The second day of Sukkoth ends in San Diego at 6:48 p.m. on Tuesday. But if you are located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Sukkoth begins at 6:14 p.m. on Sunday, with the second day ending at 7:11 p.m. on Tuesday.
In New York City, Sukkoth begins at 5:55 p.m. Sunday, and in Tel Aviv, Israel, candle-lighting comes at 5:45 p.m.
Before the holiday begins, because no work is permitted on the first two days, Jews observing Sukkoth — a word that means, basically, “booths” — must finish building their personal “booth,” or sukkah. Some simple instructions on how to construct a sukkah can be found at this link, along with tips on how to set it up for meals or, in the case of strictly observant Jews, actually living inside the sukkah for the next week.
The word “Sukkoth” is generally pronounced “su-KOAT,” but the Yiddish pronunciation, “SOOK-us,” is also common. But how the word is pronounced is less important than taking joy in celebrating the seven-day feast, a time of togetherness with family and friends.
Check out a quick, one-minute introduction to Sukkoth in the video at the top of this page.