Home Event and Festivals Lag BaOmer 2020 Special: 5 Traditional Customs Associated With This Jewish Holiday

Lag BaOmer 2020 Special: 5 Traditional Customs Associated With This Jewish Holiday


Lag BaOmer Bonfires (Photo Credits: Pixabay)

Lag BaOmer also written as Lag B’Omer, is a Jewish holiday. It is celebrated on the 33rd day of the Counting of the Omer, which occurs in the Hebrew month of Iyar. While the rest of the Omer count is actually a period of mourning, the holiday of Lag BaOmer is a time to rejoice. Lag BaOmer 2020 will be marked on May 11- 12 this year. One of the most important customs of this festive celebration is the lighting of bonfires. There are two main reasons for marking this festival – one is the passing of great mystic sage Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. It is said he revealed some secrets in the form of the Zohar, the most important text of Kabbalistic faith. The other reason is, it marks the day when a deadly plague killed the disciples of the great sage Rabbi Akiva. For some Jewish followers, the mourning period ends on the day of Lag BaOmer. On this festive celebration, we look at some of the traditional customs surrounding this festival. Lag B’Omer 2020 Dates and Significance: Here’s the History Behind Celebration of Jewish Holiday, Lag BaOmer.

Traditional Customs of Lag BaOmer

    • The largest celebration of this festive day takes place around the tomb od sage Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. It is in the Israeli village of Meron. Lot of people join in for the celebrations which including singing, dancing, music and such activities.
    • It is said that Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai dictated the Zohar from his death bed on the day of Lag BaOmer. While he was speaking, the daylight extended so that he could finish his dictation of mystic secrets of the world. In order to honour this extended light, people light up bonfires on this day.
    • On this day, children play with bows and arrows in order to honour the bravery of the Jewish rebels who fought till their end for religious and political freedom.
    • Since Omer is otherwise a period of mourning, no happy events and functions are held during this time. But since Lag BaOmer is a day to rejoice, people of several communities hold wedding ceremonies. All the restrictions are lifted, so people enjoy fun activities and celebrations.
    • Another tradition reserved for this day is traditional haircuts for little boys. Its called Upsharins, there is live music in some places while cutting one’s hair. Upsharins are said to be the first haircuts given to three-year-old boys while their parents distribute wine and sweets. It is mostly held in the village of Meron.

A lot of the above practices will not be followed or rather celebrated this year because of the Coronavirus lockdown. There’s a prohibition on lighting bonfires this time, to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Israel’s Cabinet announced last week, the traditional events have been cancelled this year.

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