Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A fake holiday

Many of you may not be aware that yesterday was National Planting Day.

Not to be confused with Tu B’Shvat (which this year fell out on Shabbat - as it does 30% of the time), or even Friday Erev Tu B’Shvat, (which was the day when most schools and gans celebrated Tu B’Shvat), or even the Thursday before Tu B’Shvat (which was the day when many companies served dried fruit to their employees), National Planting Day is the day when all the national-religious youth groups hold their annual neti’ot (literally, plantings).

In practice, this means that although elementary schools officially remain open, few of their students show up. For instance, I’m told that in one class, three quarters of the boys were absent.

Moreover, the student bodies of most yeshiva high schools and ulpanot include so many madrichim and madrichot that the schools don’t even try and fight it. Instead, they just declare it as a vacation day and give everyone – including those who aren’t in hadrachah – the day off.

Yet, none of this explains why National Planting Day was specifically held yesterday (i.e. three days after Tu B’Shvat).

And so, I decided to turn to the experts to find out.

Here’s what a certain madrichah had to say:

“The neti’ot were supposed to be last Thursday, but because of the bagrut in math, which was on Thursday, they had to push the neti’ot off.

“And Friday, it couldn’t be, because neti’ot are the whole day, and of course, it can’t be on Shabbat.

“And so I guess that out of the next few days, Tuesday was the best day for them - probably because most people finish [school] earlier that day.”

In other words, National Planting Day is like the Israeli equivalent of Presidents’ Day.

And in related news, Israeli schoolchildren are currently lobbying the Education Ministry to declare other fake celebrated holidays. Here are some of the possibilities under consideration:

  • National Shofar Blowing Day - celebrated three days after Rosh Hashanah
  • National Eating in the Succah Day - celebrated three days after Succot
  • National Megillah Reading Day - celebrated three days after Purim

As my kids would say, staaaaam



  1. Don't olim get to celebrate "Yom Tov Sheini" for Yom Haatzmaut?

    That would be cool :-)

  2. And my kids just pray for snow... these are very creative holidays.

  3. How about:
    National Strike Day (so the govt. workers can all strike on the same day and just get it over with already)
    National Schnitzel Day (to be celebrated only at lunchtime)

  4. Doesn't the Mishna in Megillah list National Megillah reading day as one of the days when you can read the Megillah early - in addition to the Monday or Thursday preceding Purim?

  5. Jameel - I'm definitely in favor! Especially since it appears that it will be a while until the next Election Day... :-)

    Leora - Without real snow days here, Israelis have to be creative about reasons for cancelling school - hence, the neti'ot and, of course, Chodesh Irgun... :-)

    Raizy - LOL! Although to be perfectly honest, both of those are pretty much celebrated every day anyway... :-)

    YZG - Yeah, Tosafot asks that question too. :-)

  6. What about Nationam Pesach days, to be celabrated for 7 days starting 3 days after Pesach.

  7. Ilana-Davita - I'm game, as long as we don't have to re-kasher the kitchen... :-)


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