Lag BaOmer - May 09, 2023

Lag BaOmer
Last Updated on: 25 Nov 2022

What is Lag BaOmer?

Lag BaOmer is a Jewish observance that always occurs on the 18th day of Iyar. Lag BaOmer or Lag B’Omer means the 33rd day of the Counting of the Omer. Many mourn Sefirat HaOmer as a plague killed 24,000 disciples of Rabbi Akiva on this day.

Moreover, according to modern Kabbalistic practice, many people celebrate the death anniversary or “Day of His Joy” as it marks the death of Shimon ben Yochai. The tradition says that he instructed his disciples to celebrate this day. Currently, the Israelis mark the day as the Bar Kokhba Revolt against the Romans.

Lag BaOmer All Quick Overview

  • Category: Religious
  • Where It’s Marked: Israel
  • Why It’s Marked: The day marks several events: the plague that killed Rabbi Akiva’s disciples, the celebration of the death anniversary of Simeon ben Yochai, and the Revolt against the Romans.

History of Lag BaOmer

"BaOmer" means "of the Omer." "Lag" is made up of two Hebrew letters, ‘lamed’ (ל) and ‘gimel’ (ג), which combinedly have 33 as a value. Lag BaOmer commemorates many joyous events as well as unpleasant events.

In the 49-day time between Passover and Shavuot, the 33rd day of the Omer allows everyone to sing, dance, and celebrate weddings. Other than that, Omer is mainly a mourning time for the Jews.

The origin of the event is still unclear, but there are many historical origin claims for this day. There is one story of food: Manna, or “the Bread of Heaven,” fell from the sky on the day of Lag BaOmer.

Then there is the history of the plague that supposedly killed Rabbi Akiva’s 24,000 disciples because they were not being kind and cooperative with each other. According to Talmud, it is also known that the plaque came to an end on Lag BaOmer. Thus, marking the day as celebratory hours between the mourning period of the death of the students.

Much historical information dates back to Lag BaOmer's 15th century when Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai died. He is known to be the first to spread the knowledge of the mystical Torah Dimension named Kabbalah. He is also the writer for the Kabbalah, the Zohar. Throughout his life, he taught people how to love, live, and be kind. So, the Jewish people celebrate Shimon bar Yochai’s life, his writings, and his teachings.

How to Celebrate Lag BaOmer

Lag BaOmers has now become a minor event that the Jews celebrate in diverse ways. Many celebrate the joy of Shimon bar Yochai, and many mourn the death of students during the plague.

Many festive activities take place in the mountainous village of Northern Israel, Meron. People visit the tomb of Shimon bar Yochai on this day in Meron, where he was buried. People even donate wine or other alcohol or juice to the visitors paying respect to the tomb.

It is customary to spend Lag BaOmer outside the house. The Israelis spend the day in parks and other open fields. Many even have a fancy picnic with their family and friends. You will also find many playing with bows and arrows.

At nighttime, people light bonfires and gather around them with family and friends. Shimon ben Yochai's mystical knowledge is shared at this time. One can also play music or musical instruments to enjoy the time. Many enjoy singing while sitting around the bonfire to pay homage to Shimon bar Yochai. People also eat carob fruit and eggs on this day.

Little male children of 3 years of age get their first haircut on Lag BaOmer because of the Mourning Laws at Meron. Many Jews hold weddings on this day because they think it will bring their marriage good luck and happiness.

Countries that Observe Lag BaOmer

Israel observes Lag BaOmer annually.

Interesting Facts about Lag BaOmer

Lag BaOmer has many interesting facts that you might want to know about. We have mentioned a few of them in this article.

  • Rabbi Shimon and his son lived in hiding for 13 years, eating a carob tree’s fruit that miraculously grew near their cave.
  • People eat hard-boiled eggs dyed with onion skin.
  • Jews hold weddings on Lag BaOmer as it is the only day for celebrations between the 49-day duration of Passover and Shavuot.
  • Jews cut their male child’s hair on Lag BaOmer after they turn three.
  • The Jewish people must donate 54 liters of drink to the visitors at Rabbi Shimon’s tomb.
  • People visit open fields or parks on Lag BaOmer as a custom.

Unique Lag BaOmer Celebration Ideas

If you plan to participate in the celebration of Lag BaOmer, here are a few things you can do.

  • Pay your respect to Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai by lighting a bonfire. The celebration will bring your loved ones closer. Invite your friends and hang out for the evening till late at night. If you know how to play guitar, use it to sing some songs together.
  • The Jewish people eat carob tree fruit and dyed eggs on this day. So, participate in this tradition of food. If you cannot find carob tree fruit in your area, try making a hard-boiled egg with onion peel imprints. It does look good to eat.
  • Have a picnic at your nearby park. People usually don’t stay inside on Lag BaOmer. So, pack a picnic basket and go to the park or a grass field. Enjoy the day in the sun, surrounded by scenic beauty.
  • Usually, it is customary for 3-year-old boys to get a haircut on Lag BaOmer, but it doesn’t mean you can’t. Maybe you want to try a new haircut, so this is the day to gather all your courage and visit your nearest salon for a haircut.

Lag BaOmer Quotes

Here are some quotes or wishes for Lag BaOmer.

This might be the death anniversary of the great sage  Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, but we still feel good about it because this was the day when the deaths stopped happening because of the plague that had killed many people, including 24,000 disciples of the sage!”

“Love is the most powerful emotion, and that was among the many lessons the great  Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai taught us!”

“Let the light from the bonfires guide and drive the mystic teachings that the great sage did in his time!”

FAQ

1. When is Lag BaOmer?

Lag BaOmer will take place on May 19, 2023. It always falls on the 18th day of Iyar, the Hebrew month.

2. Why do Jews get married on Lag BaOmer?

If you don’t get married on Lag BaOmer, no celebrations are allowed within the 49-day time frame between Passover and Shavuot.

3. How long does Lag BaOmer happen?

Lag BaOmer is just a 24-hour event.

Lag BaOmer Observances

Year Weekday Date Name
2021 Friday 30 April Lag BaOmer
2022 Thursday 19 May Lag BaOmer
2023 Tuesday 09 May Lag BaOmer
2024 Sunday 26 May Lag BaOmer
2025 Friday 16 May Lag BaOmer
2026 Monday 04 May Lag BaOmer

We constantly update the dates of holidays that keep changing every year. However, while we revise and change some dates to be accurate, if you find any errors, kindly inform us . That will mean a lot to us.

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