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טוּ בִּשְׁבָט (Tu B’Shevat) is a Jewish holiday on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of שְׁבָט. It is also called רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה לְאִילָנוֹת, literally “New Year of the Trees”. Ecological organizations in Israel and the diaspora have used the holiday to further environmental-awareness programs.
There are few customs or observances related to this holiday. One custom is to eat a new fruit on this day, or to eat from the שִׁבְעָה הָמִינִים (seven species) described in the Torah (Deut. 8:8) as being abundant in the land of Israel. These שִׁבְעָה הָמִינִים are:
In the 16th century a seder ritual was developed to discuss the spiritual significance of the שִׁבְעָה הָמִינִים. Aish.com provides a traditional text for this seder. The Jewish college student organization Hillel also provides materials for a Tu B’Shevat seder.
Tu B’Shevat will occur on the following days of the secular calendar:
Jewish Year 5773: sunset January 25, 2013
Jewish Year 5774: sunset January 15, 2014
Jewish Year 5775: sunset February 3, 2015
Jewish Year 5776: sunset January 24, 2016
*The word “Tu” is not really a word; it is the number 15 in Hebrew, which you can find out about Hebrew numbers in a previous article.
List of dates from www.jewfaq.org