Fun Fact Friday – Valentine’s Day (Fifteenth of Av)
Do Jews celebrate Valentine’s Day? Here in America we have the well-known holiday of love called Valentine’s Day. But did you know that Jews in Israel celebrate the holiday of love called Tu B’Av (fifteenth of [the summer month of] Av)? To many this holiday has become the “Jewish Valentine’s Day.”
This is a secular holiday in Israel, and is a great day for weddings. While we don’t know exactly when Tu B’Av began, it is first mentioned in the Mishnah (compiled and edited in the end of the second century), where Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel said:
There were no better (i.e. happier) days for the people of Israel than the Fifteenth of Av and Yom Kippur, since on these days the daughters of Israel/Jerusalem go out dressed in white and dance in the vineyards. What were they saying: Young man, consider whom you choose (to be your wife)? (Ta’anit, Chapter 4)
One possible explanation for its origins is the biblical account in Judges 19-21, in which the Tribe of Benjamin was allowed to intermarry with the other tribes.
Both holidays, Tu B’Av and Valentine’s Day, are a celebration of love, and love is worthy of celebration. God’s love, as seen in the provision of redemption in Yeshua (Jesus) was the greatest act of love. We would like to hear if you celebrate God’s love in your life. Please tell us on live chat or leave us a message in the tab on the bottom right-hand side of this page.