In the past we were more dependent on the weather outside our windows. That is why the seasonal holidays were particularly important during the coldest and darkest period of the year. It was a way to add light and remind that a warmer temperature and a longer daylight was on its way.
Right yesterday I started a new book about plants by a researcher and a journalist: not a book about how to grow your tulips, but how those tulips behave. Literally.
Anyway, in this book I read about Tu-BiShvat, a Jewish festivity recurring in the beginning of the new year, indeed it is also called “New Year of the Trees“. Jewish calendar is not in sync with the Gregorian one, but Tu-BuShvat arrives every year when nature is beginning to wake up, slowly but surely. The reason for this festivity is to thank Earth for the harvest of the previous year and to hope for a good, fertile new one, therefore it is strictly linked to the agricultural cycle. Almond trees are the first to blossom in the State of Israel, so celebrations require eating in particular nuts, but in general all tree fruits. Enjoy the fruits of the trees, and right after be grateful and thankful.
There is a period of our history as species that separates our celebration of nature to the regular abuse of it. This period is not a clear-cut day, so it is not easy to understand when, how and why we passed from fear and reverence to control and disrespect. This ambiguity and duality lives in our attitude toward the environment we live in. It seems we are remembering the awareness of our connection to the rest of the planet, and certainly this annual festivities help our memory to wake up.
For 2016 Tu-BiShvat is precisely today, between the 24th and the 25th of January.