Tu b’Av: Sunday, Aug. 6 (evening) to Monday, Aug. 7, 2017
Tu b’Av is the 15th day of the month of Av. It’s an ancient holiday dating back to the time of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, during which unmarried girls would wear white and dance in the vineyards to capture the attention of single men searching for brides. Tu b’Av marked the beginning of the grape harvest; Yom Kippur, when the girls would return to the vineyards, marked the end.
The first mention of the holiday occurs in the Mishnah, where Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel wrote that Tu b’Av and Yom Kippur were the most joyous Jewish holidays. Various explanations are offered about the timing of the date, including that it is when members of the tribes of Israel were permitted to marry women from other tribes.
Today, Tu b’Av is dubbed the “Jewish Valentine’s Day,” and is celebrated that way in Israel. It is the occasion for many weddings, as well as singles and matchmaking events in the Jewish community. There is little in the way of traditional observances, although the Tachanun (confession of sins) is not said during daily prayers.
There are no official Tu b’Av foods, but some people will make heart-shaped foods and use grapes to commemorate the holiday of love.
Source: MyJewishLearning.com, Jewish Food Experience