The Religious Calendar and the Consecration of Ordinary Time 
The calendar of religious festivals is a major unifying focus for identity.

Note the scriptural passages on which the festivals are based.

SABBATH - Exodus 20:11; 23:12;Deut 5:15; Nehemiah 13:15-22

SABBATICAL YEAR - Leviticus 25:1-7. JUBILEE - Lev 25:8-34


ROSH HASHANAH [Head of the Year]/New Year/Trumpets  [Numbers 29:1]

Creation and Judgment: "This is the day that the world was called into existence. This day He causes all creatures to stand in judgment"

Sophar [ram's horn] calls to people to return to God, beginning 10 days of self-examination and repentance. This period concludes with Yom Kippur---->


YOM KIPPUR/Day of Atonement [Leviticus 16]

Day the high priest in the Temple made sacrifice for Israel's sins. Now a day of fasting and prayer; atonement sought through repentance. Five days later comes Sukkot----->


SUKKOT/Tabernacles [Pilgrimage festival in Temple era]

One of three harvest festivals; reminds the people of how God provided in the wilderness. Temporary booths [tabernacles] of branches are built for eating meals or sleeping.


SIMCHAT TORAH/Rejoicing in the Law

Celebrates the end and beginning of the yearly cycle of reading Torah [Pentateuch]


HANUKKAH/Lights [Near winter Solstice]

Eight-day commemoration of the re-dedication of the Temple after Judas Maccabeus expelled the Syrian occupiers in 164 BCE.

Menorah [eight-branched candlestick] used during this festival.


Purim (Lots) (Feb/March) [Book of Esther]

Celebrates escape from massacre of Jews in Persia. Haman casts lots to chose day to destroy the Jews of the Persian Empire.


PESACH/Passover [Exodus 12:1-20; 23:15]. [Pilgrimage festival in Temple era]

Celebrates delivery from Egyptian slavery; a special meal [SEDER/ORDER] held in the home. The order of ritual is the Haggadah showing forth. A vacant place at table with a glass of wine is set for Elijah, the expected herald of the Messianic Age. Unleavened bread [matzah] is eaten as a reminder of the "bread of affliction" which slaves ate in Egypt. Hence this festival is also known as the Feast of Unleavened Bread". The week-long Passover festival ends with a spring harvest festival. Since the failure of the revolt against Rome in 135 CE, the seven weeks following Passover are a time of mourning.


SHAVUOT(Weeks) / Pentecost (Fiftieth) [Exodus 23:16; Lev 23:15-21]

Fifty days after the second day of Pesach, this feast commemorates the giving of the Law to Moses on Mt Sinai. It is also another spring harvest festival, First Fruits.

Added in Post Temple Period

TISHAH B'AV/9th day of Av [July/Aug]

Mourning and fasting in remembrance of the destruction of the Temple, 70 CE.