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Top 5 Interesting Facts about Hag HaSigd

Updated: May 5

Two Ethiopian women with their hair covered

01 Atonement

Sigd comes from the root of the word that means "to prostrate," a gesture that of laying down flat, associated with atonement. The holiday is then referred to as "Chag HaSigd," the holiday of atonement.

02 Ethiopian Community

The Ethiopian Jewish religious community celebrates Sigd, and it was declared a national holiday in Israel in 2008.

03 Traditions

On this holiday, Ethiopian Jewish leaders dress in their traditional robes and carry Torah scrolls while holding colorful umbrellas while praying with the community. Sigd marks the covenant of the Torah between the Jews and G-d. The community spends 50 days after Yom Kippur atoning for their sins and on the 50th day, they all pray and fast again like on Yom Kippur.

04 Location

The holiday is mostly celebrated at the Kotel and on the Tayelet right outside the Old City in Jerusalem. More than 100,000 Ethiopians come to pray and observe the holiday together in the holy city.

05 Origins

Sigd is theorized to have originated either in the 6th century after a war between Jews and Christians, or in the 15th century resulting from religious persecution. Some say the holiday came to be as a result of this persecution from Christian kings, and as a way to unite the people and solidify the traditions.

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