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Succot The Jewish Holiday After the Exodus from slavery in Egypt the wandering Jews lived in tents or booths called Succots They were pitched wherever they happened to stop for the night Today it is called the Succot the festival of booths remembering both the ancient agricultural booths and those of the Exodus The harvest festival of thanksgiving Succot begins five days after Yom Kippur and lasts for eight days The first two days are the most holy during which most Jews do not work The families construct the booths and decorate it with branches and leaves fruits and other designs The roof is covered lightly so the stars and the sky can still be seen Most Jewish families eat all their meals in the Succot while some even sleep in them During the Succot festival thanks are given for all growing plants by using four plants which are symbolic of all the rest These four plants also represent the Jewish people The Etrog or the citrus fruit stands for the people who are educated in the Torah and who do good deeds The Lulav or branch of the date palm stands for the Jewish people who have knowledge but no good deeds The Hadasor myrtle symbolizes the people who do good deeds but are not educated The Aravah or willow stands for the people who have no good deeds and no education These plants are carried around the synagogue in a procession while prayers are recited for blessings on the land and fruit of Israel In biblical times the willow the palm and the Etrog were used in decorating the Succot At the end of the Autum harvest on the fifteenth day of Tishri September-October Succot is celebrated It is believed that the festival originated with the ancient Canaanite celebration after the grape harvest at the end of the annual dry season During this time rites were performed to incourage the rains Boughs of
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