Here we are again at this tiny, little holiday, another new-year of sorts in the middle of the Jewish month, Shvat. The moon is beautiful these nights, I have been noticing. – I just LOVE how the moon and the months grow and get renewed together in the Jewish calendar.
So, – the name of this little holiday is “Tu B’Shvat”, which literally means “The fifteenth day of the month of Shvat”. It is also called “The new year for the trees”, and this really points to the meaning of the holiday. This is the day from which we start counting the fruit in relation to tithing, which of course was most relevant in the times when we still had a Temple to bring the tithes to. (But it is still the time of the year when we start counting the sabbatical year for the trees, which is coming up, actually.) We are in the middle of winter, the trees have all finished their fruit-bearing season, and it is too early for even the earliest ones to have started yet. So it is a good time to count fruit from.
This day is celebrated by eating lots of fruits of the trees, – in particular dried fruits as traditionally one did not have all that much fresh fruit during this time of the year. In particular we focus on the seven species, which my name (Te’ena=fig) is one of too. ðŸ™‚ (But still, I have to admit, my favorite is dried mangos. ;-))
Another very traditional way of celebrating Tu B’Shvat is to plant a tree. We have done that at times too, like the year when we planted the Almond-tree in our garden. And even though we donÂ´t always plant an actual tree, we just about every year do some gardening in relation to Tu B’Shvat. And this year is no exception.
Since it is still so early, and we are hoping for more winter still to come, I didnÂ´t want to make a too big investment in the garden yet, but the amount doesnÂ´t really matter. A few new plants. A reason to start digging. Getting a little dirty. Doing something different. Enjoying working in the garden. Oh, it is all so so healthy in every way!
The children had a really good time with it. There was so much positive energy going around!
Another little tradition we have for this time of the year, is that we like to make a trip out in the mountains surrounding Jerusalem to experience some real nature, and see some almond blossoms. We have not made it out there yet, and the almond trees are actually far from blossoming, as far as I have heard. Hopefully we will make it out there one of those days, and when we do, I will let you know all about it! For now, – Tu B’Shvat Sameach! – Happy Tu B’Shvat!!