What is Tu Bishvat

What is Tu Bishvat?

Tu Bishvat is the Jewish holiday celebrating the birthday of trees. It is our spring holiday. This holiday is celebrated in January or February, so it doesn’t feel like spring where I live, but it coincides with the blooming of the almond trees in Israel.

How to Celebrate Tu Bishvat

Trees are a big deal in Judaism. The land of Israel is a desert, so planting and maintaining trees there is essential for people to be able to live there. Of course trees are vital to our survival everywhere on this planet. On Tu Bishvat we acknowledge the importance of trees in many ways. The most traditional way is to plant a tree or sponsoring the planting of a tree in Israel.

We talk about the environmental impact of trees on our world. Trees provide us with clean air, their roots hold the soil, they provide homes for animals, and shade for tired hikers. Trees provide food for us. They also provide wood, paper, and other resources.

We also celebrate by holding a Seder. I’ll expand on that below.

What is a Tu Bishvat Seder

Just like Passover, this holiday is celebrated with a seder. The seder includes prayers acknowledging the importance of trees to our ability to feed ourselves and to our environment. 

During the seder we eat three different kinds of fruit.

Fruit that have a shell (hard on the outside and soft on the inside): Citrus fruit, coconut, banana

Fruit that are pitted (soft on the outside, hard in the center): Cherries, Peaches, Apricots

Fruit that are totally edible: Apples, star fruit, pear, kiwi

During the Seder we drink four cups of wine or grape juice and they vary in color to symbolize the transition from winter to spring.. The first one is white grape juice symbolizing winter, then the second one has a little bit of red, the third is red with a little bit of white, and the last one is all red.

Try a new fruit: We also say Shehecheyanu while trying a new fruit. I recommend visiting your local international grocery store to try some new fruits to try. Leches, persimmons, and dragon fruit have been some of our favorite exotic fruits.

PJ Library offers a 2 printable Tu Bishvat Seder sheets with blessings and explanations of the holiday. Printable 1 and Printable 2. They also have the Tu B’Shevat Seder for Kids printable on the Tu B’Shevat Hub

More Jewish Learning

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