The Jewish Feast of the Tabernacle, Sukkot, in 2016 begins at sundown on Sunday, October 16, and ends at nightfall October 23. Starting on the 15th day of Tishri, Sukkot is usually translated as Feast of Tabernacles, although the word itself is from sukkah, the name of the shacks farmers would live in during harvest.
For the eight days and seven nights of Sukkot, Jews traditionally eat and sleep in a sukkah, a temporary dwelling with a thatched roof, from which the holiday gets its name. Two other components of the holiday are inviting guests, or ushpizin, and waving the four species, known as the lulav and etrog.
Sukkot is one of three biblically mandated holidays for which the ancient tribes made a pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem. The holiday is based on the verse: “Every resident among the Israelites shall live in booths, in order that your [ensuing] generations should know that I had the children of Israel live in booths when I took them out of the land of Egypt” (Leviticus 23:42-43). The sukkah is a physical remembrance of the “clouds of glory” that surrounded and protected the Israelites as they wandered the desert after escaping from Egypt.