Tu B’Shvat, also known as the “New Year of the Trees,” is a Jewish holiday that falls on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat (this year it begins on 5 February). It’s a time to celebrate the beauty and bounty of nature and to give thanks for the fruits of the earth.
While it’s traditionally celebrated with a special meal and by planting of trees, there are many other ways you could celebrate Tu B’Shvat at home. Here are some of our favourites:
1. Hosting a Tu B’Shvat Seder: One of the most traditional ways to celebrate Tu B’Shvat is by hosting a special meal known as a ‘Seder’. This meal typically includes dried fruits, nuts, and wines, each of which is eaten with a specific blessing and is symbolic of different aspects of the holiday. For example, dried fruits are eaten to symbolize the hard work and effort it takes to produce fruit, and wines are consumed to symbolize the joy that comes from the fruits of the earth. You can also make it a potluck and invite friends and family to bring a dish to share, make it a fun and interactive activity.
2. Planting something: Another way to celebrate the ‘New Year of The Trees’ is by planting something, be it flower seeds, vegetables, or anything else you fancy. This is a great way to connect with nature and to remind ourselves of the importance of taking care of the earth. You can also make a bird feeder or a birdhouse to welcome feathered friends to your garden.
3. Learning and reading about the holiday: Take the time to learn about the history and significance of Tu B’Shvat and the role of trees in Jewish tradition. You can read books, articles, watch documentaries or find online resources.
4. Arts and crafts with natural materials: Get creative and make arts and crafts using natural materials such as leaves, branches, acorns, and other items found in nature. You can make a tree collage, a wreath, or a mobile, the possibilities are endless. This could be a great activity to try out with little ones, and the perfect time to make decorations for Sukkot later in the year!
5. Scavenger hunt: Another fun option for those with children, is a Tu B’Shvat scavenger hunt. You can hide fruits, nuts, and other natural items around the house for the kids to find – perhaps with a sweet treat for a prize at the end!
6. Giving back to the community and the environment: Tu B’Shvat is also a great opportunity to give back to the community and the environment. You can research local nonprofits and charities that work to protect the environment and support them by volunteering or making a donation.
7. Cooking with fruits and nuts: there’s so many delicious things to make with fruits and nuts, from a fruit salad or a fruit-filled bread, to nut butter, or your favourite jams. Try out a new recipe using seasonal fruits such as Bramley apples or clementines and enjoy the taste of nature.
8. Outdoor activities: If the weather allows it, you can plan outdoor activities such as a nature walk, a picnic, or even a tree-planting ceremony. This is a great way to connect with nature, get some fresh air and spend some quality time with your loved ones.