Hopefully everyone is looking forward to the pinnacle of the Feast of Weeks! Whether you are new to keeping the festivals of YHWH or are just looking for some fresh ideas I've put together a list of fun traditions and new ideas. Do you have a favorite activity for Shavuot? Please share below!
Bake bread. Shavuot requires two loaves of wheat bread (Vayikra 23:16). In our culture bread is mostly purchased at the store, and is usually inexpensive and of very low quality. In days of past, however, bread was baked at home or bought from highly skilled bakers. As perhaps the staple of the diet, you can imagine they became quite good at baking and that was obvious tasting the bread. If possible, take the time to bake bread. Challah made with eggs and butter or olive oil is traditional but as long as it is leavened, any type will do.
Bring a free-will offering. YHWH says to rejoice by giving (Deuteronomy 16:10). Many times it's easy for giving to feel more like a tax or obligation than something to celebrate but Deuteronomy 16:10 says we are to give according to how YHWH has blessed us. He isn't asking us to give what we don't have. By giving we are celebrating that YHWH has provided for our needs.
Read the book of Ruth. This is a fun tradition for Shavuot since much of Ruth revolves around harvest season. Significantly Ruth was born a Moabite but chose to be grafted into the people of Israel, showing us that our bloodline is not what makes us Israel but choosing to follow YHWH. This is a fitting reminder during a holiday that is to be celebrated by all of YHWH's children.
Rejoice with your household. Deuteronomy 16:10 talks about celebrating with our family but doesn't stop there. Servants, Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows "that are among you" all get mentioned. Shavuot is an opportunity to share of the blessings and festivals of YHWH with others. Host a party to share about this holy day or prayerfully consider sending a card or gift to someone.
Have a festive meal. After all, it is also known as the Feast of Weeks. Since the first wheat harvest of the year is emphasized it makes since to include bread in your meal. Set up a crostini station with different toppings to try. Traditionally dairy foods are served on Shavuot since "milk and honey" is thought to be an euphemism for the Torah. Grilled cheese, blintzes, yogurt bars, and cheesecake are all common during the festival.
Teach the Ten Commandments. The Torah was given to Israel on or around Shavuot so studying the Ten Commandments is very fitting. Look for crafts to do with children or get a canvas and paint your own Ten Commandments to decorate with.
Study Torah. There is a Jewish tradition of staying up all night studying in anticipation of Shavuot. It's not everyone's cup of tea (remember the guy who fell asleep and fell out the window when Shaul was preaching?) but a late-night Bible study with lots of coffee would be memorable.
Get mikvahed. Yochanan the Immerser said that while he baptized with water, Yeshua would immerse with fire. In Acts 2, the Holy Spirit was poured out in the form of fire on those in the Temple. And it happened on Shavuot. And with reasonably warm weather in most of the world what better time for a mikvah?
Remember the poor. In Vayikra 23:22 we are instructed to help provide for the poor. This is just a few verses after we are instructed to observe this festival. Look for ways you can bless others during the Shavuot season.
Ask for the Holy Spirit. Shavuot is the day the most remarkable outpouring of the Ruach Hakodesh. Spend time praying for more of the Holy Spirit of YHWH in your life, family, and community. Ask for understanding of the Word, and for the Ruach Hakodesh to be poured out.