The Four Main Jewish Holidays

The Jewish faith and culture is one of the oldest religious traditions in the world. Also categorized as one of the three Abrahamic religions, because of its affinity to Abraham, the Jewish faith is a monotheistic religion that believes in the existence of one transcendent God whom adherents refer to as Yahweh. Because of its long rich history, the Jewish faith holds several holidays and festivities in remembrance of its past glories and triumphs over adversity, as well as a symbol for adherence to its ways of worship. The following are the four major Jewish holidays and their significance to the Jewish people.

(a) Passover
The Jewish holiday of Passover is usually celebrated with much pomp, it commemorates the Exodus; a day when Israelites were liberated from the bondage of slavery after serving many years as slaves in Egypt.
The feast of Passover also known as Pesach is celebrated by Jews for seven consecutive days , this according to some sources is because indicates the time it took for Pharaoh to catch up with the Israelites after changing his mind on liberating them as slaves, and followed them to bring them back to Egypt. Biblical accounts reveal that it is at this stage that the red sea opened allowing the Israelites the passage and then consumed Egyptian soldiers in  pursuit of Israelites effectively allowing Israelites to be fully free. The Passover feast more often coincides with the Christian’s holiday of Easter.

(b) Rosh Hashanah
Also known in English as the “feast of trumpets”, or biblically as “Yom Teruah,” Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year which commemorates creation of the universe. It is usually marked by blowing of the shofar (a ram’s horn trumpet) that initiates a ten day period of atonement introspection and reflection which ultimately culminates to the Yom Kippur.

(c) Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur is considered the most important holiday of the Jewish faith; it is the Jewish Day of Atonement and Repentance which is aimed at purifying and forgiving of sins committed towards God. This day is usually marked with day long fasts and intensive prayers in which Jewish faithfuls spend a large portion of their day in synagogues.

(d) Hannukah
Also known as the festival of lights, Hanukah is a Jewish celebration which signifies the recovery of Jerusalem following a revolt by the Maccabees, best known as the Maccabean revolt in which the Maccabees successfully wrestled Jerusalem from the Greek Syrian army and rededicated the holy temple to Jerusalem through purification. Sources reveal that the wicks of menorah (Hebrew lampstand) miraculously burned for eight days which is why the festival is celebrated for eight days.

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