Blog Contributor, Faith, Family, Lifestyle, Spiritual

Sukkot Celebrations for the Newly Initiated

Do you love fall and celebrating the seasons? If so, I’d like to suggest that you incorporate a simple Sukkot celebration into this season’s line-up!

Sukkot 2018 falls this year between Sunday, September 23 to Sunday, September 30. It is a 7-day Tanakh (Old Testament) celebration that incorporates agricultural, historical and theological elements. It is spoken about throughout the Bible as the Feast of Booths, Sukkot, The Feast of Tabernacles, Festival of the Ingathering, Feast of Yahweh, Zemen Simchateinu the Season of Our Joy, or simply, The Festival.

Our family has celebrated Sukkot for many years now. The blessings from doing so have been unique and totally unexpected. We have met friends from around the world, participated in unique relationships with Jewish friends from our local synagogue, edited a book on the Hallel Psalms, and been involved in raising thousands of dollars to assist persecuted Christians in Bethlehem.

Now 80% Muslim, Christians in Bethlehem are struggling. Please link arms with Blessing Bethlehem to join Jews and Christians in feeding and helping Christians in the birthplace of Yeshua!

All this from celebrating the Festival of Sukkot, you ask? God does indeed work in mysterious ways!

If you would like to get started on celebrating Sukkot but are intimidated about a week-long celebration, start small. Pick one day during the week to invite friends over. Sukkot is, by its very nature, community oriented. Fellowship is an integral part of the party! Eat outside, in some type of tent like structure if possible, but a picnic bench or porch works well, too.

You can find Sukkah plans on-line and even order pre-made, collapsible Sukkahs from various suppliers, or build one from PVC pipe! Decorate your Sukkah with fall objects and create a banner or two, if you have time. Perle bead and popsicle stick sukkah decorations are just as appropriate as more elaborate items.

Wave the lulav. Also known as the 4 species, these are traditionally an etrog (lemon type fruit) and branches from the myrtle, willow and date palm tree. The etrog is held in one hand while the branches are bound together and held in the other. These are waved 3 times to the north, south, east and west, as well as towards the sky and towards the earth, symbolizing YHVH’s sovereignty over all. Because we live in the far north in North America, these species are not common to our area. We use what we have and celebrate the King of Kings!

Traditional prayers are said and food is eaten together- Challah bread, of course, along with other harvest food items, such as butternut squash soup, Kreplach (meat filled noodles), salads, casseroles, salmon and deserts such as struedals, tarts or baklava. Sukkot is seasonally known as a harvest festival, so think all manner of delicious fall food and you are in the zone.

Dance and sign if you are so inclined! Simple circle dances are a great way to incorporate all ages into the festivities. Sing worship music, traditional hymns or the Psalms! Don’t worry about how you look! The point is to celebrate together what YHVH has done in our lives and what He is going to do!

While Sukkot is a celebration of friends, family and food, it is, most importantly, a celebration of God’s delivering His people from a 40 -year sojourn in the desert, living in temporary shelters (sukkahs) to permanent residence in the Promised Land. It is also a time of looking ahead as we rejoice in the hope of dwelling (tabernacling) with YHVH permanently. Joy indeed!

Did you know that Sukkot is a Festival that Yeshua Himself participated in? To better understand the Master, we must understand the culture in which He walked and talked. Celebrating Sukkot has given us insight into Biblical culture, community, obedience and reliance and trust in Him, both for deliverance and for the promise of what’s to come! Chag Seamach!

CHIME IN: If you celebrate Sukkot, I would love to hear about it! Tell us in the comments!

For more details and information about Sukkot:

Celebrate Sukkot: A How to Unit Study by Lisa Nehring (This is a chock-full 28 page instruction guide that includes step-by-step how to celebrate, history, charts, definitions, resources links & recipes, Scripture references, prayer cards, printable Sukkot by the numbers)

Celebrating Biblical Feasts by Martha Zimmerman

A family Guide to Biblical Holidays by Robin Sampson

Blessing Bethlehem

Lisa Nehring has 1 husband, 2 graduate degrees, 5 kids and a black belt in homeschooling. She is the owner of True North Homeschool Academy, which offers live, on-line classes, clubs, ebooks, freebies, testing, a Struggling Learners program and a state of-the-art digital badging system. She is passionate about the power of education to transmit truth, beauty and goodness and to transform individuals and culture.


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