I had never heard about Lag B Omer until about three years ago. I always thought Chanukah was my favorite Jewish holiday, with the whole presents and fried food thing it has going on, but as it turns out, I was completely wrong. Chanukah is not my favorite holiday. Lag B Omer is, and I haven’t even celebrated it yet!
Here’s what I’ve learned:
The Omer is the 49 day period between Passover and Shavuot (the eating cheese and studying all night holiday), during which you’re supposed to study and contemplate and be serious. No live music. No dancing. Lots of studying. Each night, you’re supposed to say a blessing and count the Omer, so, last night was night one, and tonight will be night two, and tomorrow night will be night three…
The Omer is not in itself my favorite holiday, and in fact, I’m not sure it even counts as a holiday because it’s so freaking long. HOWEVER, Lag B Omer is definitely a holiday, and it’s definitely my new favorite, because on Lag (the 33rd day) B Omer, people have parades and bonfires and get married! Yaaaaay!
Why do people do this? Unclear. Some people say that it’s some old famous rabbi’s* yartzeit, while other people say that it was the day that a plague on Rabbi Akiva’s students ended. I don’t find either reason particularly compelling, and I’m guessing that maybe people needed a little break from all the seriousness and not dancing. No matter what, this year’s Lag B Omer is going to be the BEST EVER, because this year on Lag B Omer, I’m marrying Suzie!
We’re going to have dancing, we’re going to have fire spinners (if the fire department gets us that permit on time), and I’m going to wear a big poofy dress. It’ll be great! Suzie is my very favorite person on the planet, and I can’t wait to see her million-watt smile… It’ll be such a wonderful day!
Also. Last night was the very first night of the Omer. Which means that as of right now, there are only 32 days until the wedding. Aaaaaaaaah! I still have to get the balloons and make sure all the relatives know how to get to the place and make sure we have enough utensils and get tablecloths and give my younger brother-in-law his new tie and OH MY GOODNESS weddings are serious business. Wish me luck!
Lag B Blog, day 1.
*The old famous rabbi was named Shimon bar Yochai, and apparently he was like the Chuck Norris of old famous rabbis. He was so good that no rainbows were seen during his lifetime, because his merit was strong enough to protect the world. Whaaaaat… Seriously, check it out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lag_Ba%27omer