Seasons of Love: Tu B'Av

Now that we’ve gotten past a particular heart-and-candy themed holiday, I wanted to rise to the challenge posed by my friend and fellow blogger, Phil Setnik:

In his response to my post about Valentine’s Day, Phil commented:

“I challenge you this way: Take back your celebrations to your bosoms and return them to what they are supposed to be. Learn what the days mean, celebrate and commemorate them as they should be.”

I’m working on a separate post on  how it feels like being a Jewish parent sometimes means playing a game of Holiday match-up. I don’t want to say “Chanukah is just like Christmas” or anything, but there are moments when it can be helpful to say to my 6 year old:  “Remember, we get to wear costumes on Purim.”

Regardless, Phil’s challenge is a just and fair one. What is the need to submit to a holiday named for a saint if there is a Jewish holiday that fills a similar purpose?

So I give you: Tu B’Av.

If the name sounds hauntingly familiar, it may be due to the fact that we have Tu B’Shevat (literally “the 15th of Shevat”) and also Tisha B’Av (“the 9th of  Av”). So Tu B’Av simply means “the 15th of Av”.

The holiday was observed in ancient times as a kind of Sadie Hawkins Day affair, where each marriageable woman would put on a simple white dress (so that nobody could visually distinguish rich from poor), and then go out into the vineyards to sing and dance with the other women. Men would stand at a distance, and (one would believe) make decisions about whom to approach for their hand in marriage.

Like Tisha B’Av (a single day when we note all the sad events in Jewish history), Tu B’Av also commemorates an amalgamation of historic events – but all of them happy.

In modern times, Tu B’Av is marked (mostly in Israel) by sending flowers to someone you love, the radio plays romantic songs, and many people plan their wedding to take place on this day.

Speaking as a guy, the best thing about Tu B’Av is that THERE IS TIME TO PLAN!! This year, it falls on Monday, July 26. It’s after all the mid-summer holiday stuff, but still in the middle of the warm season when you can go out and have a picnic.

And the second best thing about it? Roses, perfume, chocolate and gifts don’t require a second mortgage to purchase.

So mark your calendar and start brushing up on your love poems. You only have 126 days left!!

UPDATE: I posted this before I had a chance to check out the wonderful post over at here. Take a minute and check it out!