Jewish and Israeli Food

What Is Tu BiShvat? Learn About the New Year of the Trees

Learn about this unique Jewish holiday, where it comes from, and its most popular customs!

After the whirlwind of Hanukkah and the secular New Year, things may currently feel more slow or gloomy, but we actually have a meaningful though often overlooked Jewish holiday coming up: Tu BiShvat!

Also known as the New Year of the Trees (or in Hebrew Rosh Hashanah La’illanot), Tu BiShvat 2024 will occur from sundown on Wednesday, January 24, until sundown the following day.

What is Tu BiShvat?
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Tu BiShvat is a minor festival that takes place on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shvat, with the name itself referring to the date. It originates in the Mishnah (the first part of the Talmud, also known as the Oral Torah) and was an agricultural holiday in the Biblical Land of Israel.

Many communities celebrate it today by honoring the Earth, planting trees, and eating the Seven Species of Israel (wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates) along with other fruits and nuts.

In Israel, Tu BiShvat is commonly a day for planting trees and celebrating nature, particularly the special bounty of the Land of Israel.

And in honor of Tu BiShvat, we’re helping our customers plant their own trees in Israel from afar! For every order of $100 and up on our site through January 31, we will donate to Keren Kayemet LeYisrael (KKL-JNF) to have a tree planted in your name near the site of the October 7, 2023 attacks, at no extra cost to you.

You may also purchase your own tree, or additional trees, here.

Read more details here, and get your own free tree in Israel by shopping on our site today!

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The New Year of the Trees
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In Biblical times, Tu BiShvat marked a point between growing seasons and the start of a new agricultural year. It was used as a sort of "birthday" for all the trees in the Land of Israel in order to keep track of their age, which was important for calculating fruit bearing cycles as well as keeping track of contributing crops to the Temple and to the poor.

Today, the idea of a tree's "birthday" is less important from a practical standpoint, but the holiday's strong association with trees remains. Modern Jewish communities connect with the "New Year of the Trees" by planting trees around this time, particularly in the Land of Israel, and also often extend the theme of the holiday to honoring all nature.

It's common to use Tu BiShvat as an opportunity to participate in, donate to, and spread awareness of environmental causes and to honor the Earth.

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The Seven Species
Tu Bishvat holiday symbols - dried fruits, pomegranate, barley, wheat

Another modern custom that has emerged around the holiday of Tu BiShvat is the eating of special foods representing nature's bounty and the Land of Israel, particularly fresh and dried fruit, nuts, and the Biblical Seven Species of Israel: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives (or olive oil), and dates (or date honey).

These Seven Species are indigenous to the Land of Israel and still grown and harvested there today, and are listed in the Hebrew Bible as being particularly special to this land.

Some people even hold a Seder, a special ritual meal, on Tu BiShvat that involves the Seven Species. 

You can read more about the Seven Species and what they represent here, shop our Seven Species-themed gifts, and check out some creative recipes incorporating the Seven Species to brighten up your Tu BiShvat!

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Other Tu BiShvat Foods
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Other commonly eaten Tu BiShvat foods include apples, carob, almonds, other nuts, and dried fruit like apricots and raisins. Some may also include honey as a nod to the "Land of Milk and Honey" as Israel is referred to in the Bible, as well as wine to make it a truly special occasion.

For many Jews in the diaspora it is particularly special and important to eat produce from the Holy Land if possible, and they may order wines or gift baskets specially from Israel for an extra-meaningful connection to the Torah and our indigenous Jewish homeland.

Israelis, meanwhile, often associate Tu BiShvat with colorful spreads of dried fruits and nuts, or other favorite locally grown produce.

Indulge in some of the best the Land of Israel has to offer this Tu BiShvat season with our kosher gift baskets and wines!

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Tu BiShvat Jewish Art

 

While Tu BiShvat doesn’t have any special required Judaica, many Jewish artists and designers incorporate colorful motifs featuring trees, nature, or one or more of the Biblical Seven Species into wonderful Tu BiShvat-themed items that can be used for the holiday itself, or any time of year whenever one wants to connect with Israel’s natural bounty.

While it may have evolved from its Biblical roots, we’re thankful that Tu BiShvat still remains such a special date in the Jewish calendar. It’s a wonderful opportunity to recognize the life-giving beauty of our planet and celebrate the incredible gifts that trees give us each and every year!

On behalf of Judaica WebStore and all of Israel, we wish our readers (and the trees, of course!) a wonderful Chag Sameach!

 

Celebrate the New Year of the Trees with our Tu BiShvat-inspired gifts from the Land of Israel!

And don’t forget to get your free tree donation with any order of $100+ on our site!

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