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Tu B'Av

Tu B'Av, the "fifteenth of Av," is a minor Jewish holiday and holy day that has been celebrated both in modern and ancient times. In Israel today, it is a holiday of love, a romantic Jewish holiday similar to Valentine's Day or Sadie Hawkins Day. In fact, it is more popular than Valentine's Day for secular and Orthodox Jews. It is viewed as an auspicious day for weddings and is also a day of matchmaking and proposing. If a bride and groom's wedding day is on the holiday, they don't fast. On Tu B'Av, festivals of dancing and singing take place in Israel in the evening. The Tachanun isn't said for the Mincha—the afternoon prayer the day before—or at all during the day. (This was the only ritual of the day between the fall of Jerusalem and the re-establishment of a Jewish state in 1948.) Tu B'Av is also a day to increase one's studying of the Torah.

During the time of the Temple in Jerusalem, Tu B'Av was a joyous holiday marking the start of the grape harvest. On Tu B'Av and Yom Kippur, young, unmarried women of Jerusalem would put on white garments and dance in the vineyards, in hopes of matching with a spouse. According to the Talmud, these were the two happiest days on the Jewish calendar. Tu B'Av also celebrated the wood-offering brought to the Temple. Josephus called it the Feast of Xylophory, which means the Feast of Wood-Bearing. There were other reasons it was celebrated on the fifteenth of Av on the calendar during the time of ancient Israel. For instance, during the time when the Israelites wandered the desert for forty years, female orphans without brothers were only allowed to marry within their tribe, so that their father's inherited territory in the Land of Israel wouldn't be turned over to other tribes. This ban was eventually lifted on the fifteenth of Av, following the conquest and division of Canaan under Joshua.

How to Observe Tu B'Av

  • Propose to your partner.
  • Buy your partner gifts.
  • Make an attempt to find a partner.
  • Get married.
  • Attend a Tu B'Av festival, where there is singing and dancing.
  • Study the Torah.

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