What Sukkoth/Sukkot Is a Feast of

Here’s an interesting article on Sukkoth’s connection to the harvest, or rather, to harvest-processing.

Of course, we celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration on August 6th (thanks to the vagaries of lunar vs. solar calendar), whereas Sukkoth is whenever it comes up in the lunar calendar. But I bet you all remember the bit where Peter offers to build Moses and Elijah and Jesus “booths” on top of the mountain so they can all celebrate the feast together. The booths or tents are where people camped out during the harvest and harvest processing season. Urban people were commanded to build them also, and to remember the people’s nomadic past and the exodus from Egypt too.

Anyway, since “harvest” is one of the big Biblical and Gospel eschatological images, you can see how the Transfiguration ties into it. First Jesus harvests us, then He gets rid of the chaff at the Judgment with the threshing and winnowing, then the good grain is sifted and purified and brought into the barns of eternal life, and then there’s bliss and feasting after the processing is over.

Sukkoth also includes prayers for rain, since the end of harvest processing is the beginning of the rainy season. This ties in with the traditional water games played at the Feast of the Transfiguration, both to cool people off while reminding them of Baptism, and because most of the folks in the Eastern parts of the world are also waiting for rain. But also, since folks in Israel had been praying for it _not_ to rain, and rot the grain before the processing was done and everything safely under cover, it was a ceremonial reversal of what they’d just been doing! 🙂

Here’s a good talk from the “Feasts of Faith” series of talks comparing the great Jewish and Catholic feasts. This one is “Tabernacles: Old Testament Feast and Eucharistic Fulfillment.”


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