Jewish holidays have strong biblical roots and symbolism. They are full of tradition for the Jewish people. Christians may be interested in exploring and even partaking in some of the Jewish feasts or the feasts of the Bible themselves.
Beautiful Traditions Associated with the Feasts of the Bible
When you begin to research the feasts of the Bible, you may actually be quite surprised with how special they are. There are some beautiful traditions that bring the reason of the celebration back to God and what He has done for us, every single time.
Once you and your family sit down and begin to look into what the biblical feasts are and how they are celebrated, you are going to want to start planning to celebrate the next one.
Most of the feasts of the Bible can be a fun time of celebration and remembrance. There are always fun activities, decorations and lots of really good food associated with these feasts.
You may want to start by doing some research on what the feasts are, where they came from, and how they are celebrated. Learning about the feasts is also a great way to bring biblical history into your studies at home as well.
How many Biblical Feasts are there?
There are 7 Jewish festivals and feasts that are celebrated in the Bible. Many of these are the feasts that God ordered the Israelites to partake in so they wouldn’t forget what He had done for them.
The 7 biblical feasts you will learn about in this post:
- Feast of Lots (Purim)
- Passover (Pesach)
- Pentacost (Shavuot)
- Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah)
- Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)
- Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot)
- Feast of Dedication or Feast of Lights (Hannukah)
The Importance of Jewish Feasts n the Bible
The feasts in the Bible are very important events for Jewish families and a big part of the Jewish tradition. Even the Jewish calendar revolves around the feasts at different times of the year.
Families will spend a lot of time preparing food, baking and cooking from scratch, making and building decorations and even costumes for these celebrations. There is a lot of research that can be done ahead of time to celebrate the feasts. You may want to research the type of food to serve and look for specific scriptures to read.
The father of the home may want to research the order of how a specific feast will go such as a reading at a Passover Seder dinner. There are lots of ways you can include your entire family in learning about these celebrations.
The Meaning of the Feasts of the Bible:
Let’s learn about why each feast is celebrated and what they mean to the Jewish people.
Feast of Lots (Purim)
Scripture References: The Book of Esther
The Feast of Lots, also known as Purim, is the feast that celebrates the story of the book of Esther. This feast is so rich in biblical importance as the story of the Jewish girl Esther, who risked her life to save her people by becoming Queen and delivering them from death.
After the Jew’s deliverance they celebrated with a feast, giving presents containing baskets of food to one another and the poor.
Many Jewish people celebrate on the fourteenth day of the first month on the Hebrew calendar which equates to sometime in February or March.
This is such a fun feast to celebrate especially with children. Many families will read the book of Esther out loud and children will dress up in costumes and whole families will reenact the story together.
Download a free copywork unit – Biblical Feasts Copywork: Purim
Food Served During Purim
Another fun thing about celebrating the Feasts of Lots or Purim is the food. The food served is almost always triangle shaped. The most common food served is kreplach and hamantashen pastries. Kreplach are pasta triangles that are stuffed with ground beef or chicken. Hamantashen are pastry dough triangles with a filling of dates and poppy seeds.
Kreplach is a traditional dish served on the Feast of Lots (Purim)
Scripture References: Exodus 12, 13:1 – Leviticus 23:5 – Numbers 28:16 – Deuteronomy 16:1
Also known as the Feast of Freedom, this feast is usually celebrated in early spring. You may notice it is celebrated close to Easter or Resurrection Sunday.
Passover is a very special holiday that celebrates the Exodus. It is a remembrance of God’s deliverance for the children of Israel when they were released from their bondage and delivered to the promised land.
Passover is celebrated with a big feast that has great meaning behind it. This feast specifically remembers the night when the Israelites were protected by the blood of the lamb as the angel passed over the homes in the land of Egypt.
This story paints a picture of Jesus Christ as the sacrificial lamb, the Passover lamb, whose life was sacrificed to take away the sins of the world.
The meal is called a Passover Seder. At this Seder dinner, special foods and bitter herbs are served that show significance to the story. It is very rich in tradition, and families normally celebrate it the same way each year. They follow precise steps and readings while eating the food at the table in a specific order.
When the meal is over it is celebrated with praises for the sacrificial lamb of God. There can also be singing and sometimes dancing!
Further reading: Should Christians celebrate Passover?
Download a free copywork unit – Biblical Feasts Copywork: Passover
Passover Seder dinner – special foods and bitter herbs
Scripture References: Exodus 34:22, Leviticus 23:15-16, Acts 2:1, Acts 20:16, 1 Corinthians 16:8, The Book of Ruth
Also known as the Feast of Weeks, Shavuot is the Hebrew word for weeks and it comes 7 weeks after Passover. Pentecost is the Greek name for Shavuot and means the 50th day, which is 50 days after the Sabbath of Passover.
This feast celebrates the the first fruits of the wheat harvest with the offering of two loaves of leavened bread from the book of Leviticus. Pentecost signifies the coming of the Holy Spirit from the book of Acts.
It is also celebrated by reading the Ten Commandments out loud with your family. This is done in remembrance of when God showed his face to Moses and gave him the 10 Commandants on Mount Sinai.
Pentecost is normally celebrated seven weeks after Easter. It is celebrated by having a meal of all dairy foods, attending synagogue (if you are Jewish), and staying up late reading the book of Ruth as a family. It is a joyous time of giving thanks to God.
Further Reading: What is the Feast of Weeks?
Download a free copywork unit – Biblical Feasts Copywork: Pentecost
Foods most often served on Pentecost are dairy foods such as cheesecakes and cheese blintzes, though breads and meats are also often served.
Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah)
Scripture References: Leviticus 23:24-25, Numbers 29:1
The Feast of Trumpets is also known as the Day of Remembrance. The word Rosh Hashana means the “head of the year,” so it is celebrated as the Jewish new year on the first day of the seventh month on the Jewish calendar.
It is normally celebrated sometime in September and October and is the first of the many fall feasts that are celebrated and a holy day to begin the “high holy days.”
Blowing the Shofar
The symbolism behind this feast is to follow the commandment God gave to blow the shofar. God told Moses that this day was to be a day of rest celebrated with trumpet blasts. A shofar is a trumpet that is made from a ram’s horn and is a musical instrument that is mentioned in the Bible.
The shofar is actually blasted about 100 times during a typical Rosh Hashanah feast! If you have never heard a shofar blown before, it is not a restful sound. It really does make you want to jump up and celebrate though.
It is a tradition to wear “new” clothes for the new year. Many Jewish people will wear all white to their feast.
Traditional foods that are served on Rosh Hashanah are to eat apples and carrots with honey. A brisket, turkey, or fish with the head still on are normal meats that are served on this special holiday.
Rosh Hashanah lasts for 10 days.
Further reading: What is the Feast of Trumpets?
Download a free copywork unit – Biblical Feasts Copywork: Rosh Hashanah
Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)
Scripture References: Leviticus 23:27-28, Numbers 29:7
Yom Kippur is considered the holiest day of the year, and symbolizes the cleansing of our sins. This day is celebrated on the 10th and final day of Rosh Hashanah. It is treated as a somber holiday, though others say it is a day of joy to remember what God has done for us.
When the Israelites were in the wilderness they had to worship God in the Tabernacle that was set up. Only the high priest could go into the holy of holies to offer special sacrifices to God.
For Christians, Yom Kippur symbolizes the only sacrifice that truly means anything, and that is the sacrifice that God sent His one and only Son to die for our sins.
It is also a tradition to wear all white as a symbol of purity.
On the Day of Atonement there is no food served or a feast as God commanded everyone to fast on this day as a day of remembrance. This special day leads right into the Feast of Tabernacles where it is celebrated with food.
Download a free copywork unit – Biblical Feasts Copywork: Yom Kippur
Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot)
Scripture References: Exodus 34:22, Leviticus 23:34-36 & 39-43, Numbers 29:12
The Feast of Tabernacles is also known as the Feast of Booths. For seven days, all of Israel would move out of their homes and set up temporary shelters and special booths to dwell in.
These shelters were called “Sukkah” and where they get the word Sukkot from. When the Israelites stayed in these shelters and not in their own homes they are to be reminded of the 40 days that they were wandering in the desert.
God commanded his people to use this feast as a time of rejoicing. It was the time in Israel when their harvest season was over, and there would be an abundance of food that God provided them to rejoice over.
Today, many people celebrate Sukkot by creating their own booths. They will involve their friends and family to build a temporary shelter in their yard. These can be made with tree branches and covered with palm fronds and branches and leaving an opening to be able to look up at the night sky.
Many families will set up their feast and eat and celebrate in the booth that they created. This makes for some amazing family memories for your children.
Traditional foods that are served at the Feast of Tabernacles are foods that would be harvested at that time. Many people serve wheat, barley, grapes, squash, figs, pomegranates, olives, dates, root vegetables, apples and pears. Meat stuffed peppers and harvest soups would also be served.
Download a free copywork unit – Biblical Feasts Copywork: Sukkot
Feast of Dedication or Feast of Lights (Hanukkah)
Scripture References: John 10:22-23,
Hanukkah or the Festival of Lights is not found in the Old Testament, but it is celebrated in the New Testament in the Bible. In Luke, it talks about the Jews celebrating during the time of Jesus!
This festival celebrates the rededication of the Temple after 3 years of conflict and war when Antiochus IV was emperor.
Every night of Hanukkah a candle is lit in the Menorah. This signifies God’s miracle of cleansing the temple after the Maccabean revolt. The Jews wanted to light the Menorah in the temple, but there was not enough oil to keep it lit. There was only enough oil to burn for one day.
The tradition says that God provided enough oil to burn, and keep the Menorah lit for all eight days.
It is now a joyous eight-day celebration where the Menorah is lit in a window each night. Children play games with a dreidel and eat special holiday foods.
The most common foods eaten during this celebration are: Brisket, latkes, matzo ball soup and challah.
Further reading: What happened in the Maccabean Revolt?
Download a free copywork unit – Biblical Feasts Copywork: Hanukkah
Learn About the Biblical Feasts as a Family
We have created a family study called Learning About Biblical Feasts – A Study Guide to the Feasts of the Bible for Children & Families
This unit study is perfect for a family that is wanting to dig deeper into learning about the Jewish feasts from Biblical times. It works great as a family read aloud or family study when you sit down and read the scriptures that go along with it.
It will help you and your family have a deeper understanding of the biblical feasts and what God wants to teach us with the symbolism behind them.
What is included in this unit study?
- Study guide to learn about the 7 Jewish Feasts and the history and symbolism of each one and why the Jewish people celebrate them.
- Biblical Feasts calendar pages so that you know when to celebrate on a regular calendar.
- There is text to read aloud along with reading comprehension questions to get a better understanding of these Jewish holidays.
- Notebooking for your children to record what they have learned.
- Printable questions to answer with an included answer key.
For More Information on the Jewish Feasts in the Bible:
- What are the different Jewish festivals in the Bible?
- How did Jesus fulfill the meanings of the Jewish feasts?
- What is the structure of the Jewish calendar?
- What are the Lord’s appointed times (Leviticus 23)?
- The Christian and Holidays
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