Israelis and Jews around the world are celebrating the harvest festival of Shavuot on Saturday Sunday. In Israel. the agricultural holiday is primarily celebrated on kibbutzim and moshavim..
Shavuot, coming exactly seven weeks after Passover, is the holiday which celebrates the day when the Jews received the Torah on Mt. Sinai, thereby becoming a unified nation. It is also celebrated as the holiday when the first wheat harvest is carried out. Dairy products such as cheesecake, cheese blintzes, sambusak, siete cielos cake, and other dairy foods are traditionally eaten on the holiday.
Kibbutz Dafna began the festivites with a tractor parade while on Kibbutz Amir the pensioners opened the festival a “scooter dance” followed by dancing to music by the Israeli band Givatron.
Dan Rudolph, one of the older members of Kibbutz Amir, said that “the celebrations (at Kibbutz Amir) were always modest. At the beginning, everything was connected to agriculture, but the drought forced us to dismantle several parts of the kibbutz such as the fish ponds and our alfalfa fields.”
“However,” Rudolph continued, “this holiday and all of us gathering here together is still very important. You can see how everyone is coming and taking part in the celebrations. That’s what’s great about the kibbutz.”
The Gaza border kibbutzim also celebrated the holiday on Saturday. Tali Achitov from Kibbutz Nirim said that “Shavuot is a big and important event on our kibbutz, and lots of people come to our events from all over the country. Our celebrations include everything, and we put a special significance on our first wheat harvest. The adults of the kibbutz go out into the fields with sickles and scythes to cut and harvest the wheat. Afterwards, we have a huge dairy meal accompanied by dancing.”
Even the urbanites celebrate the holiday. In the Nesher suburb of Haifa hundreds participated in a first harvest festival which included a short presentation by children from the local school; a farmers market selling cheeses, wine, and olive oil; workshops on basket weaving and wool processing, drum circles, a petting zoo, and donkey rides.
The holiday continues on Sunday with celebrations around Israel, including a massive celebration at the airfield next to Kfar Yehoshua in the Jezreel valley which begins at 5:30pm