• 28 JANUARY, 2020
Jewish Holy Days and Their Rituals

Thomas Atzberger, the author of the religious book, I Am Only Mary has explored the culture of the times during the life of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Creating a fascinating, highly original prose meditation, the author has included details of religious rituals, holy days and months, family Holy Day gatherings, church and worship services and holy sermons and congregation attended by the community.

The book allows the readers to gain insight into the holy days that Jewish people, their extended families and communities gather to share and worship the special day. They celebrate these sacred days in feasting, relaxing, and show a gesture of goodwill by being compassionate and kind towards family members, neighbors, and community. Through their act of benevolence, people voluntary help others in their daily chores to make them feel better. For instance, meeting an elderly neighbor who is ill bring a delicious meal for the person and the whole family or making new friendships.

In the book, the author has elucidated how Jewish keep the track of the holy days through the calendar that reflects the phases of the moon. The readers come to know that each month begins when the first bit of the moon appears after the moon is all dark. The twelve holy months in the calendar are Nisan. Sivan. Tammuz, Av. Elul. Tishrei. Cheshvan. Kislev. Tevet. Shevat and Adar. Furthermore, the chapters in the book expound on how people celebrate these holy days by engaging in religious rituals and services.

How Important Holy Days Celebrated by Jews Shabbat

The Jewish Sabbath—Shabbat in Hebrew, Shabbos in Yiddish—is observed every week beginning at sunset on Friday evening and ending after dark on Saturday evening. After the festive meal, the remainder of the evening is devoted to studying or relaxation. The distinctive features of the Sabbath morning synagogue service include the public reading of the Torah, or Five Books of Moses (the portion read varies from week to week) and, generally, the sermon, both of which serve to educate the listeners. For religiously observant Jews, Shabbat is as important as any other holy day. They do not work or travel on Shabbat rather than get engaged with holy services and duties. After the evening service, the Sabbath comes to a close with the Havdala ceremony, which consists of a blessing note along with a cup of wine, spice box and candle.


The month of Nisan is thirty days long. It contains the Holy Day Passover that celebrates the life of Moses. The week-long spring festival of Pesach commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people from bondage in ancient Egypt. The Passover comprises ritualized meals, prayers, stories, and sermons that bring to mind how God worked through great miracles by using Moses. Passover is observed as a full holy day for the Jewish community.

Shavuot Holy Day

The end of the seven weeks is the festival of Shavuot on the fiftieth day. It marks the giving of the Law (Torah) to Moses. The day commemorates the spiritual freedom people got when God gave Moses the Torah at the foot of Mount Sinai on Shavuot. This time comes between the barley harvest and the wheat harvest. During this festival, dairy meals are eaten, and greenery is placed around the house and at the synagogue. Families go to church or religious schools to hear a reading of the Ten Commandments. Prayer services are held, and other works are forbidden.


Tammuz is the saddest month in the Jewish calendar. This month comprises of tragedies. The Babylonian armies of King Nebuchadnezzar broke through the walls of Jerusalem on the ninth of Tammuz, captured many people, and destroyed the Holy Temple. The 17th of Tammuz signifies the commencement of the three weeks of mourning over the destruction of holy Temples. During these weeks, people fast and get engaged with religious services, marriages are not performed, and it is customary to refrain from attending public performances of music and dancing.

Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur, the Feast of Atonement, is on the tenth day of Tishrei. It is the most important holiday in the Jewish faith. It has special significance as it marks the day as a period of introspection and repentance. On this day, the high priest confesses all the sins. People pray and ask forgiveness and mercy from God for the sins they committed the whole year and commit to following God’s commandments in the coming days.


Shevat contains Tu Bishvat. This holy month is connected to the agricultural cycle of the Land of Israel. It is known as the New year for trees. This day is celebrated by planting saplings and by participating in a seder-meal that echoes the Passover seder, in which the produce of trees, fruits and nuts are eaten.

I Am Only Mary is a book that can be read by people of any faith, who have the interest to know about the holy days and their significance. The book helps the readers to comprehend the life of Mary as to how even the most normal lives are instilled with the loving-kindness of God. Following God’s compassion, the person spiritually grows and lead a virtuous life.

I Am Only Mary is available on different online platforms. The book can be read by anyone who has a keen interest to know in Mary’s life. Since the history and biography about Mary are hardly available, reading this prose meditation brings us close to her.