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Tu BiSh'vat (Hebrew: טו בשבט‎), also known as the New Year of Trees and Jewish Arbor Day, is a Jewish holiday occurring on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat. It is also called “Rosh HaShanah La’Ilanot”. In contemporary Israel the day is celebrated as an ecological awareness day and trees are planted in celebration.

The name Tu BiSh'vat is derived from the Hebrew date of the holiday. “Tu” stands for the Hebrew letters Tet and Vav, which together have the numerical value of 9 and 6, adding up to 15. Tu BiSh'vat is a relatively recent name; the date was originally called “Hamisha Asar BiShvat”, which also means “Fifteenth of Shevat”.

Scholars believe that originally Tu BiSh'vat was an agricultural festival, marking the emergence of spring. In the 17th century, Kabbalists created a ritual for Tu BiSh'vat that is similar to a Passover seder. Today, many Jews hold a modern version of the Tu BiSh'vat seder each year. Figs, dates, raisins, carob, and almonds are especially popular to have at your seder. Many people also incorporate into their seders the Seven Species associated with the Land of Israel in the Torah, which according to Deuteronomy 8:8 are wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates.

Tu BiSh'vat also has become a tree-planting festival in Israel, in which Israelis and Jews around the world plant trees in honor or in memory of loved ones and friends.

Fri, December 9 2022 15 Kislev 5783