Jewish Series: Shavuot

History of Shavuot: The Feast of Weeks

The Jewish Pentecost

Bill Petro
ILLUMINATION
Published in
3 min readJun 11, 2024

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Shavuot poster, late 1940s. Image: Wikimedia

Tonight at sunset, June 11, begins the Jewish holiday Shavuot, also known as the Feast of Weeks, and continues until sundown on June 13. The holiday, also known in Greek as Pentecost, is on the sixth day of the Hebrew lunarsolar calendar month of Sivan, which means that in the Gregorian solar calendar, it may occur between May 15 and June 14.

It is called the “Feast of Weeks” because it occurs seven weeks (7 × 7 days) or 50 days (inclusive) after the first day of the Jewish Passover. It is distinguished from the Christian Passover in that the date of this is tied to Easter, due to decisions made at the Christian ecumenical Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325.

Shavuot is one of the three pilgrimage festivals, holidays when work was forbidden, and Jews were to bring their sacrifices to the Temple in Jerusalem.

Historical Context of Shavuot

According to Exodus 34:22, Shavuot marked the grain harvest in the ancient land of Israel. The harvest lasted seven weeks. Similarly, the eighth day of Sukkot was the festival of the fruit harvest.

According to Leviticus 23:15, the “Counting of Omar” between Pentecost and Shavuot refers to the measure (omer)…

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Bill Petro
ILLUMINATION

Writer, historian, technologist. Former Silicon Valley tech exec. Author of fascinating articles on history, tech, pop culture, & travel. https://billpetro.com