Tu B’Av, the Jewish Day of Love, is a minor festival that spent many centuries going virtually unnoticed in the Jewish calendar, but recently has had a huge comeback. Somewhat comparable to Valentine’s Day, the holiday is a very popular day for marriages in Israel. But what exactly is Tu B’Av, and how can we celebrate it?
There are many possible reasons why we first started celebrating Tu B’Av. It could be that the 15th of Av (the 5th month of the Jewish calendar) marked the beginning of the grape harvest, or perhaps it is down to the fact that it’s also the day that the ban was lifted on intertribal marriages. This would explain why Tu B’Av has become such a desirable day for marriage and renewing vows. There are many other reasons posited for why this day came to be a holy one, but it is impossible to know which or how many of them are accurate.
Whatever the reason behind the holiday, Tu B’Av is one of the two happiest days in Judaism according to the Talmud (the other being Yom Kippur). It is a joyous celebration that counteracts the 3 Weeks of mourning that come before it which conclude on Tisha B’Av. It is said that on this day ‘the daughters of Jerusalem go out dressed in white and dance in the vineyards’.
While perhaps it is not so common in the vineyards, singing, dancing and wearing white are still very much part of the celebration in modern-day Israel, as are festivals and gift-giving. It is not just a day about romantic partnership, but instead is a celebration of love and joy of any kind. It is a day to give cards and flowers to those you care about, watch a lovey-dovey film, or simply give yourself some appreciation and self-care.
One way to celebrate the holiday is to treat your loved ones (or just yourself!) to something sweet. One of our favourites are frozen yoghurt grape pops – these are delicious, sweet little bites that are definitely worthy of the day of love, and signify the beginning of the grape harvest. Best of all, they are incredibly simple to make!
– 25 red grapes
– 25 toothpicks
– 5 oz Greek yoghurt
– ½ cup (8 tbsp) ground nuts and/or seeds
1. Wash and dry the grapes, before carefully inserting a toothpick into each one
2. Line a tray with a sheet of parchment paper, lay the grapes on it and freeze for at least 2 hours
3. Take the grapes out of the freezer and dip each one into the Greek yoghurt
4. Immediately afterwards, dip them into the ground nuts of your choice
5. Lay the grapes gently back on the tray and put them back into the freezer for at least an hour before serving.
Brighton & Hove is a city that offers a wide variety of activities to do, whether you’re looking for culture, art, or just a warm place to relax. There’s always something new and exciting to discover here so, if you aren’t a local, why not come and visit this winter and see for yourself what this city has to offer?