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It’s one of the top four Jewish new years celebrations out there: Tu B’Shevat! Tu B’Shevat (also spelled Tu B’Shvat or Tu Bishvat) marks the fifteenth day of the Jewish month of Shevat, which usually occurs in mid-January on the Western calendar. It is known as “The New Year of the Trees,” perhaps because in the holy land there are still a few trees with leaves in January. Tu B’Shevat is often celebrated with a formal feast or seder, which is seen as an opportunity to go nuts – that is to say, eat plenty of traditionally prepared almonds. But there are plenty of other ways to celebrate the holiday as well, including Tu B’Shevat crafts, activities, and festivities. But if you can’t make it to the seder with your family, it’s always a good idea to send a greeting or card for Tu B’Shevat, since after all it’s important to remember your roots during the New Year of the Trees.
Tu B’Shevat has its origins in the Jewish teachings found in the Mishnah; its name derives from the month of Shevat and the Hebrew letters Tet and Vav. These letters correlate to the numbers six and nine, which add up to make fifteen as the day is celebrated on the fifteenth of the month. Fortunately, this is the only major mathematical calculation involved in the celebration of Tu B’Shevat. Jewish tradition holds that in addition to eating almonds for the seder, ten types of dried fruits should be consumed in a specific order in addition to four types of wine in order for the rest of the year to be blessed. Of course, the year will be a lot more blessed if observers of the seder ritual refrain from using box wine during the ceremony. Owing to its reputation as the New Year of the Trees, Tu B’Shevat is also viewed by some as a Jewish Arbor Day of sorts; environmentally conscious observers can opt to be more environmentally friendly by buying carbon offsets for the seder. Another good way to partake in the environmentally friendly spirit of Tu B’Shevat is to send your family environmentally friendly, 100% recycled cards such as the ones found here at Card Gnome. That way you can help create a more blessed year for the rest of the world too.
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