On the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat, Israel celebrates the rebirth of the trees and essentially the beginning of spring. This day is referred to as Tu B’Sheva and this year it begins at sundown on January 30th and ends at sundown on January 31.
Tu B’Sheva is traditionally the start of the agricultural cycle in Israel and marks the biblical tithes of crops. This calendar assisted in ensuring that biblical laws pertaining to crops were observed, such as not eating the fruit of a tree in its first 3 years of life and another that a portion of the crops were given to the poor.
While a minor holiday, it still held great importance to the very agrarian society.
In modern times, the day still is observed however in different ways. While it still holds more of its traditional significance on Kibbutz’s and in orthodox communities, it is more widely seen as sort of Arbor Day. People plant trees and bring attention to environmental causes.
Afforestation has been a goal of Israel for a number of years. Trees are donated and planted by visitors from around the world. When visiting Israel, it can be arranged through Keren Kayemeth Lelrael (KKL) to plant your own tree that will be able to visited by you and generations of your family to come.
If you would like to celebrate the day with from wherever you are, traditional celebrations include feasts of dried fruits and nuts to symbolize the crops from the trees.