Lag Baomer in Israel is a time for outdoor celebrations. The Jewish festival marks the 33rd day of the ‘counting of the Omer’ which begins on Passover and ends on Shavuot, these are days of mourning in response to tragedies that happened during the period in Biblical times. Lag Baomer in 2020 takes place on May 11th at sundown through May 12th.
In modern Israel, the holiday is mostly marked with bonfires which symbolize the flames of the signal fires from the great revolt which took place in the 2nd century when many of Israel’s Jewish population revolted against the Romans, a revolt which was brutally quashed and led to epic destruction of the Jewish communities of the land.
Celebrations for Lag Baomer in Israel are focused, at least from a religious perspective around the tomb of the Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Rashbi) at Mount Meron in the Western Galilee near Safed when thousands of religious Jews take the pilgrimage to Mount Meron to light bonfires.
Across Israel parties and bonfires take place to mark Lag Baomer. If you’re visiting, it could also be interesting to visit Mount Meron at Lag Baomer and see the celebrations of the religious communities at the tomb of Rabbi bar Yochai.
Please note: Due to COVID-19, large gatherings are restricted, so it is recommended not to gather to celebrate with a bonfire, or to make the pilgrimage to the Rabbi’s tomb, as it will likely be closed to visitors.