Autumn is a very festive and important time of year in Israel. While in North America the season conjures up images of cornucopias overflowing with apples, pumpkins and squash, in Israel you’re more likely to be offered locally grown pomegranates and honey with wishes for a happy and sweet new year.
At this time of year, Jews gather to celebrate a number of holidays in different ways, and however they celebrate – whether it’s in synagogue or on the beach – it’s a festive time for family and friends to get together.
Here are some of the celebrations taking place in Israel
The sound of live music will fill the Negev desert near the Dead Sea (little known fact: it’s actually a lake) during the Tamar Festival, a four-day event that begins on 2 October and celebrates Sukkot, one of the three festivals of pilgrimage.
Simchat Torah, which marks the completion of the annual cycle of Torah readings, immediately follows Sukkot on 7 October and continues until 8 October. The holiday is joyous, with dancing, singing and the parading of Torah scrolls through synagogues. Many communities hold their own celebrations to express their love and respect for Torah study.
Thousands of people from around the world will descend on Jerusalem for the Jerusalem March on 4 October. This event brings together a diverse group of cultures, faiths and nations to march through the streets of Jerusalem to spread a message of peace, understanding and friendship, with participants often dressed in traditional costumes representing their country and waving their national flag. The day also includes concerts and entertainment.
The Olive Harvest Festival coincides with the annual harvest, with participants taking part in olive picking and learning about traditional olive oil production. The festival attracts locals and tourists interested in experiencing traditional agricultural practices while learning about sustainable farming methods through workshops.
Now in its 11th year, InDnegev has become the Coachella of the Middle East. Held from 12-14 October, the annual music festival showcases independent artists, art and culture, and is known for its eclectic musical lineup, laid-back atmosphere and celebration of creativity. The line-up includes both established and emerging Israeli artists, as well as international performers. Many festival-goers camp out on the grounds, creating a community atmosphere that is family-friendly with designated areas and activities specifically for children.