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Tu B’Av — Valentine’s Day’s Jewish Older Sibling

Renee Eder on Tuesday, August 1, 2017

I love my husband, kids, pets, good friends, and my job at the J! Next week, I can express all this love during Tu B’Av, the ancient day of love, which starts Sunday night (8/6) and goes through Monday (8/7).

Did you know that, in ancient times, Tu B’Av started as a singles mixer, of sorts? According to the Talmud, Jewish women would go dancing in the vineyards and unmarried men would go to the fields to pick out a wife. The women would wear white dresses that they had borrowed, so that no one would be embarrassed if she didn’t own the proper garments.

Today, the day is celebrated in Israel, much like Valentine’s Day in the United States, with flowers, romantic dinner dates and evening soirées. It is considered to be a good date for a wedding. Lovers taking an evening stroll outside can enjoy nature’s mood lighting, since the holiday often falls on an evening with a full moon.

If you are in the U.S., whether Tu B’Av is a time for a romantic date, to hang out with friends, or catch up on cat videos, the holiday  is a good excuse to connect with the world around you. Here are seven clever ways to celebrate the holiday.

  1. Host a White Party: Host a Tu B’Av party for single friends, where all partygoers wear snappy, all-white attire, to commemorate the Tu B’Av custom of wearing white from ancient times.
  2. Do a Clothing Swap: On Tu B’Av, the women used to borrow dresses from one another so the men could not tell the ‘haves’ from the ‘have-nots.’ Why not hold your own clothing swap with friends and family?
  3. Send Tu B’Av Greetings: Tu B’Av is the perfect time to send a message to someone you’ve had your eye on. Send greetings to wish them a happy Tu B’Av and express your love!
  4. Fill Up Your Cup… Mazel Tov!: Since this holiday marks the grape harvest, why not celebrate with a glass of wine and make a toast for the season’s blessing.
  5. Gather with Friends: Although Tu B’Av is traditionally an acknowledgment of love between husband and wife, it’s still a perfect time to get together with the people you love… even if it’s platonic.
  6. Tell Someone You Love Them: If you’ve been waiting to move your relationship to the next level, Tu B’Av gives you the perfect reason to pop the girlfriend/boyfriend question. If they are not ready, you can just say the power of the Talmud made you do it.

However you spend Tu B’Av, we wish you lots of love and good times with the ones you love!

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