Maven's Quick Guide to Tu B'Shvat - New Year for Trees
Beth Hillel ruled that the 15th of Shvat be declared the New Year for Trees. This marks the end of the rainy season in Israel and when the sap starts to rise in the trees.
The name Tu B'Shvat comes from the hebrew date where the Tu part are the hebrew letters Tet and Vav, which have the numerical value of 15 (nine and six respectively).
In the sixteen and seventeenth centuries, the Kabbalists partook of fifteen kinds of fruit, which is now a common custom adopted by many in celebrating this festival.
Another common custom in celebrating Tu B'Shvat is with the planting of new tree saplings especially in Israel.
The MavenSearch.com web directory references a number of interesting websites which provide more information about this festival including more customs, special recipies and an explanation on how to perform the Tu B'Shvat seder.
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