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Shavuot: the Festival of Water?

Updated: May 30

Shavuot is a unique holiday in Israel.

We are not only celebrating the giving of the Torah or the harvesting of the wheat but there is one other thing we have become accustomed to celebrating on this wonderful holiday- that is Israel's WATER, of course!


We know, this might sound a little weird. You probably know that Israel has, and has always had major water conservation awareness. Let's just say water isn't our most abundant resource, but we manage to get by!


Nevertheless, Shavuot has become the unofficial Israeli Water Festival. What does this mean you ask? Well, it basically means kids enjoy blasting each other with water guns and water balloons. It is just one big water fight.


So, how did this tradition come to life, you ask? In the past, the Jews in North Africa, mainly in Tripoly and Morroco, used to pour water on each other during the Shavuot holiday, as they believed that whoever gets sprayed with water during the holiday will be protected from all harm during the year. In the Jewish holy books, the Torah is always compared to water, and therefore Shavuot, being the holiday that celebrates the giving of the Torah, became associated with water too.


A little girl in a blue bathing suit being sprayed with water
Water fun!

Because of Israel's constant battle with water resources, many people have raised their objections to this custom, and it is slowly becoming less and less popular. You will mostly just see kids playing with water guns, and having a good time! Not bad if you ask us.


We know it sounds a little whacky, but we love whacky traditions here in Israel, and we hope you enjoy hearing about them as much as we do!

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