Lag Ba’omer: what is Jewish festival, when is it in 2022, how is it celebrated, origins, Lag Ba’omer sayings?

The Jewish holiday and festival Lag Ba’omer takes place 19 May

Lag Baomer can be celebrated with bonfires (Pic:Getty)Lag Baomer can be celebrated with bonfires (Pic:Getty)
Lag Baomer can be celebrated with bonfires (Pic:Getty)

Lag Ba’omer is a day of celebration with festivities beginning on the 18 May to see in the 19 May holiday .

The Jewish holiday is known for bonfires, weddings and dancing, and usually takes place a month after Passover.

With just under 300,000 Jewish people in the UK, here is everything you need to know about the upcoming festival.

What is Lag Ba’Omer and when is it celebrated?

Lag Ba’Omer, also known as Lag B’Omer, is celebrated on the 18th day of the second month of the Jewish calendar Iyar, and occurs on the 33rd day of a mourning period called the Counting of the Omer which covers the 49 days between Passover and Shauvot.

Passover ended after two days on 23 April and Shauvot will commence on 4 June.

Omer is considered to be a period of semi-mourning, but Lag Ba’Omer is the one day you are allowed to celebrate.

Lag Baomer can be celebrated with bonfires (Pic:Getty)Lag Baomer can be celebrated with bonfires (Pic:Getty)
Lag Baomer can be celebrated with bonfires (Pic:Getty)

The word Lag is made of the Hebrew letters lamed and gimel which combine to have the numerical meaning of 33, while B’Omer translates to ‘of the Omer’.

Lag Ba’Omer carries the theme of love and respecting one another, with festivities commencing tonight at sundown ahead of the holiday which ends at nightfall on the 19 May.

How will Lag Ba’Omer be celebrated?

Among the celebrations, Jewish communities organise a wide range of events including traditional Lag Ba’Omer parades, barbeques, bonfires or art activities for the children.

It is customary to spend the day outside and to play with bows and arrows while enjoying the natural beauty of the world. Traditional foods include carob and eggs.

As the mourning practices of Omer are lifted for Lag Ba’Omer, celebrations often involve music, singing and dancing, as well as weddings being allowed to take place that day.

Boys who turned three during the Omer period can also get their first haircut following the mourning laws, with many going to Meron in northern Israel - the resting place of the great sage and mystic Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai.

Why is Lag Ba’Omer celebrated?

Each Lag Ba’Omer celebrates two historic events.

Jewish people traditionally remember Rabbi Shimon bar Yochi, the first to publicly teach the mystical dimension of the Torah, as on the day of his passing, he instructed disciples to mark the date as “the day of my joy.”

Lag Ba’Omer also commemorates Rabbi Shimon bar Yochi’s teacher Rabbi Akiva - during the period between Passover and Shavuot, a great plague raged between disciples as they did not respect one another, but on the 33rd day of the Counting of the Omer, the deaths ceased.

What do you say on  Lag Ba’Omer?

There are several wishes, greetings and messages to be used on Lag Ba’Omer to guide in the festival and celebrations.

Some of these include, “fill the world with your light,” and, “let Lag Ba’Omer continue to bring happiness to our people for many years to come,” while others reference the historical roots of the holiday.

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