Birthday for the Trees
Tonight starts Shevat 15 according to the Hebrew Calendar, thereby making it Tu B’shevat.

“Legally, the “New Year for Trees” relates to the various tithes that are separated from produce grown in the Holy Land. These tithes differ from year to year in the seven-year shemittah cycle; the point at which a budding fruit is considered to belong to the next year of the cycle is the 15th of Shevat.”

We rounded up fruit yesterday and today has been a fun day of tree recognition around our home. Later we’ll enjoy a dinner that revolves around reading scriptures, thinking about the trees and the providence we are offered. It’s a less well known but enjoyable holiday that gives us a chance to take it easy and splurge on non-local, unseasonal fruits that we tend to avoid in these cold months of winter. It’s about Israel’s produce, the Land of Milk & Honey, not so much about here–though we are using one of our own Meyer Lemons!
click on the picture to see the directions.

To commemorate we created this tree decor. A simple project that started yesterday with the painting of the big sheets of watercolor paper. That was fun for everyone, we even had a chance to talk about mixing colors.  Now we’re just waiting for Drew to trace and cut out his hand so the tree will be complete.

And, the table was prepared by the girls this morning. We use this guide to commemorate, and it calls for 4 plates. The girls sorted them well. 1. Fruit with a hard peel that isn’t edible (mango, orange lemon) 2. Fruit with a hard pit (olives, dates, peaches, plums) 3. Fruit that is soft all the way through (grapes, figs) and 4. Things that come from trees that you don’t necessarily eat but use (cinnamon, rosemary, bay leaves, cloves). And, for good measure we put a branch candle in the middle that Drew made a few years back. Seemed only fitting…


  • The Yellow Door Paperie Posted February 8, 2012 7:30 pm

    What a beautiful celebration, "a new year for trees." Definitely something to be commemorated, I love the four plates idea.

  • Maria Posted February 9, 2012 1:08 am

    Cool! I look forward to reading more posts on celebrations around the Jewish calendar.

  • The Gathered Community Posted February 9, 2012 8:32 pm

    So very beautiful! Thanks for your post. I really appreciate it. I'm going to check out the guide you used for the table setting. Lovely! I love these rituals. So important- especially when we get the children involved.

  • school house oils Posted February 10, 2012 12:01 am

    we had such a great time. Friends came over and it truly was a laid back celebration–i think everyone was surprised at how much fun a little organized commemoration can be on a weeknight!

  • Joy Posted February 10, 2012 1:00 am

    That's beautiful, Lacey! I especially love the sorting of tree fruits. What a great commemoration for the trees!

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