Shavuot (also known as the “Feast of Weeks” or “Festival of Weeks”) is a Jewish holiday. Shavuot marks the start of the wheat harvest in Israel. It also celebrates counting period between Passover and Shavuot. Some Jews also associate Shavuot with God giving the Torah to Israel on Mount Sinai.

How is the festival marked?

As well as taking a day off from work, those who celebrate it also:

Studying the Torah

Some Jews stay up all night to study the Torah. This originally came from a story where the Israelites went to bed early so they could be ready for the next day. They overslept and Moses had to wake them up because God was waiting for them on the mountain. Because of this, some Jews stay up all night to study the Torah.

Eating dairy products

Food with dairy in such as cheesecake, cheese blintzes (below) and cheese-filled pancakes, are usually eaten at Shavuot.

Three cheese blintzes on a frying pan | By AndrevanOwn work, CC BY-SA 2.5, Wikipedia

Like other Jewish holidays, there is a night meal and a day meal. Meat is served at the evening meal and dairy is served at the day meal or at a morning kiddush (a blessing said over wine or grape juice.)

Decorating homes with green plants

When God gave the Torah to the Israelites on Mount Sinai, the mountain blossomed with flowers. Another story says that baby Moses was found in bulrushes inside a watertight cradle.

Because of this story, most Jews decorate their homes and synagogues with plants, flowers and leaf-filled branches during Shavuot.