Last week, you may have seen your neighbors building temporary "huts" in front yards, or on back decks. They may look like this,
These "huts" are called Succot (soo-coat, plural). They are built for the holiday of the same name, which this year began on September 22nd. This holiday remembers the time when the Jewish people were brought out from slavery in Egypt and lived in Succot, or temporary huts, as they crossed the desert. A second aspect of this holiday celebrates the biblical times when the people of Israel gathered up the crops which had been left to dry, prior to storing them. (If you live in a farming state you'll understand that process.)
During the 7-day holiday, the Succah (singular) becomes a temporary dwelling. Therefore, they are to be decorated and comfortable, just as you would make your home. All meals are eaten in the Succah. They are traditionally decorated with fruits, vegetables, flowers and other natural items. The roof can only be covered with natural materials and are commonly covered in bamboo or bamboo mats, pine or palm branches, depending on where you live. Children also make handmade decorations to welcome the holiday. The walls are commonly hung with tarps or fabric.
Inside, the Succot may look like this,
Unlike traditional real estate, at the end of the holiday, the whole "dwelling" is packed up and put away until next year! Happy Succot!