Sukkot is a celebratory Jewish festival which occurs in fall every year and is part of the High Holiday season. Just like Passover, Sukkot is one of two week-long festivals celebrated in Israel. It’s a truly unique time to be visiting Israel.
The first and last days of Sukkot are national holidays when most businesses will be closed (similar to a regular Shabbat), whilst the intermediary days are semi-regular business days. Many Israelis work half days or take time off to celebrate with their families. The result is that there are loads of activities for Sukkot across Israel. This period is one of the most exciting times to visit the country.
In 2023, the Sukkot festival falls between September 29 and October 6, while holiday events take place slightly before and after these dates.
How do people celebrate Sukkot in Israel?
After the solemn high holiday period of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Israel moves into a time of high festivity with this joyful festival. Traditionally, Jewish people will move out of their homes into a self-fashioned hut during the week of Sukkot where they will sleep and eat for the whole week. In Israel, Sukkot signals the end of the summer months. This tradition to sleep outdoors is one of the last times that many Israelis will camp until the following spring.
Many restaurants, bars, and cafes join in on the tradition to serve food in a hut. You’ll most likely find yourself dining under a canopy of bamboo or palm leaves throughout the festival. As a designated time of joy and celebration in the Jewish calendar, Israel comes alive with parades, street parties, and music festivals throughout the week.
What to do in Israel during Sukkot as a Tourist
The Sukkot festival is the perfect time to experience Israel’s incredible nature. Because this special festival is so connected to the outdoors, the best way to join in on the fun of Sukkot as a tourist is to get out of the city.
It’s important to note that there’s no public transport and limited restaurants/museums/stores open in Israel on the first days of Sukkot, the Shabbat in the middle, and the last days (Sunday 9-Monday 10th October; Friday 14-Sunday 16 October). However, Tourist Israel tours operate on each of these days.
Take the opportunity to get out of the city and visit the incredible landmarks of Israel: Masada, Dead Sea and Ein Gedi, or even hop over the border with a 2 or 3 day trip to Petra, Jordan, and Wadi Rum that leaves from and returns to Jerusalem or Tel Aviv.
In the intermediary days of Sukkot (October 1st – 5th), join in on the Sukkot festivities with the locals. Become a part of the culture of Sukkot by visiting religious Jewish neighborhoods. Here, you’ll see whole streets of people move into huts outside their home. Take a tour of Jerusalem’s neighborhoods and lively outdoor market, Machane Yehuda, which completely transforms during Sukkot.
Read more about Sukkot in Jerusalem
There’s countless things to do in Israel on Sukkot. In fact, the holiday is one of the times in Israel with the most music festivals. Many of these events take place in the Negev desert. Enjoy a temperate night under the stars with some of the hottest local and international music acts. The biggest music festivals in the Israeli desert this Sukkot are Midburn, InDNegev, and Tamar Festival.
How should I make the most of the Sukkot festival?
The easiest way to navigate this special holiday and make sure to join all the hottest events is by signing up for a package tour of Israel, or a custom private tour which will take you to all of these wonderful places and more.
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Event Date: 09/10/2022Book Event