Shavuot ( Hebrew: שבועות), or the Feast of Weeks, is a holiday that occurs on the sixth day of the Hebrew month of Sivan. Shavuot commemorates the anniversary of the day God gave the Torah to the entire nation of Israel assembled at Mount Sinai. The holiday is one of the Shalosh Regalim, the three pilgrimage festivals. It marks the conclusion of the Counting of the Omer.
Shavuot is the Hebrew word for “weeks,” and the holiday occurs seven weeks after Passover. Shavuot, like many other Jewish holidays, began as an ancient agricultural festival that marked the end of the spring barley harvest and the beginning of the summer wheat harvest. This counting of days and weeks is understood to express anticipation and desire for the Giving of the Torah. On Passover, the people of Israel were freed from their enslavement to Pharaoh; on Shavuot they were given the Torah and became a nation committed to serving God.
In ancient times, Shavuot was a pilgrimage festival during which Israelites brought crop offerings to the Temple in Jerusalem. Today, it is a celebration of Torah, education, and the choice to participate actively in Jewish life.
Whatever the reason, dairy foods are often consumed on Shavuot. Popular foods include cheesecake, blintzes, and kugel. Some Sephardic Jews make a seven-layered bread called siete cielos (seven heavens), which is supposed to represent Mt. Sinai.