“This evening, Jews around the world will come together with family and friends to begin the week-long Festival of Sukkot, which commemorates the forty-year period in which the ancient Israelites wandered in the Sinai desert following their exodus from slavery in Egypt.
“The literal translation of Sukkot – “booths” – is a reference to the provisional desert shelters in which the Israelites dwelt. To honour this history, Jews around the world build and decorate their own temporary sukkot, with roofs made of organic material, in which they eat meals, welcome guests and often sleep during the seven days of the holiday.
“Sukkot is also traditionally an agricultural harvest festival. An important Sukkot ritual is the daily blessing over the lulav (palm, myrtle and willow branches bound together)and etrog (yellow citron).
“Coming only several days after Yom Kippur, the most solemn day in the Jewish calendar, Sukkot is a joyous holiday full of celebration and community gatherings.
“As Minister for Multiculturalism, I wish all Jews in Canada and around the world a Chag Sukkot Sameach.”
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