Sukkot is a week-long Jewish festival which falls shortly after Yom Kippur. Sukkot in Israel is a time of vacation – the first and last days are national holidays when most businesses will be closed (similar to a regular Shabbat), whilst the intermediary days are normal business days except for the fact that many Israelis take the time off work. The result is that there are loads of activities for Sukkot across Israel so it is a great time to be visiting. The Sukkot festival in 2014 falls between October 8 to 15 although the events also take place slightly before and after these dates. Below are a selection of the events in Israel for Sukkot in 2014.
A Sukkah as you will find in streets across Israel, by RonAlmog, on Flickr
General Events during Sukkot in Israel
Building a Sukkah is an icon of Sukkot. This is a wooden structure built outside in keeping with strict rules dictated by Jewish law. You will see sukkahs built in the yards or balconies of many homes during Sukkot in Israel across the country.
National parks, museums in Israel, beaches, and other heritage sites become incredibly busy for the period as Israelis take to the roads. Almost all major museums will put on special events for the holidays, whilst extra tours and facilities might be open at national parks and other heritage sites so don’t be surprised by extra activities. It is a popular time to go hiking and biking.
Events during Sukkot in Israel
Sukkot in Israel is a time when many events take place across the country. We’ve broken down the events into regions – see highlights below and follow links for full event listings by region.
The etrog, a symbolic fruit used at Sukkot
Jerusalem is the center for events during Sukkot in Israel with some of the most interesting religious events.
Highlights in 2013 include the cities Safra Square Sukkah, the largest Sukkah in Israel, the annual Jerusalem March in which up to 10,000 guests from overseas will join in and march through Jerusalem, the Presidents Open House, and the Abu Gosh Music Festival.
In Tel Aviv, Sukkot is the end of beach season, and the city goes outdoors to make the most of the last glimpses of summer. Highlights include the annual biking festival culminating in the crosstown bike ride, the International Storytelling Festival, many exhibitions, and numerous concerts and parties by top DJ’s.
The Galilee has many of the most family friendly events during Sukkot in Israel – with hot air balloon festivals and many many nature-events. In Haifa, the annual Haifa Film Festival takes place during the holiday, whilst it’s a fascinating time to be in the religious city of Safed with all the Sukkot events in Safed. In Akko, there’s the Fringe Theater Festival, and many agricultural events happen across the region.
Religious children collect materials for their Sukkah by yanec, on Flickr
The desert regions of Israel’s south also have some great Sukkot events – music festivals including the Tamar Festival at the Dead Sea, dance events including the Adama Festival at Mitzpe Ramon, hot air balloon festivals, and many opportunities for outdoor adventures.