Lag BaOmer also written as Lag B'Omer, is a Jewish holiday celebrated on the 33rd day of the Counting of Omer, which occurs on the 18th day of the Hebrew month of Iyar. The Omer is counted for 49 days between the end of Passover and the holiday of Shavuot. People celebrate the day with outings, enjoying bonfires, participating in parades and other joyous events. However, this year’s celebration will be different because of the ongoing pandemic across the globe. Lag B’Omer 2020 will begin in the evening of May 11 and continue till the next evening on May 12. In this article, we bring you more insights into the Jewish holiday. Know Lag B’Omer 2020 dates, history, significance and celebrations associated with the annual observation. Lag BaOmer 2020 Special: 5 Traditional Customs Associated With This Jewish Holiday.

Lag B’Omer 2020 Dates

Lag B’Omer is celebrated on the 33rd day of the Counting of the Omer, which occurs on the 18th day of the Hebrew month of Iya. Lag BaOmer 2020 will begin from the evening of May 11 and continue until the next evening of May 12.

Lag B’Omer History, Significance and Celebrations

The word, ‘Lag’ is made of the Hebrew letters ‘lamed’ and ‘gimel’ which together have the numerical value of 33. ‘BaOmer’ means the ‘of the Omer.’ The Omer is the counting period that starts on the second day of Passover and concludes with the holiday of Shavuot, following day 49. This is why Lag BaOmer is the 33rd day of the Omer count, which coincides with 18 Iyar.

Lag B’Omer marks the ‘hillula,’ which is interpreted by some as the anniversary of the death, of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. Also known as Rashbi, he was a Mishnaic sage and leading disciple of Rabbi Akiva in the second century. It was the day when he revealed the deepest secrets of ‘kabbalah’ in the form of the ‘Zohar,’ a landmark text of Jewish mysticism. On the day of his passing Rabbi Shimon instructed disciples to observe the date as ‘the day of my joy.’ Another reason, why Jews observe the day as it marks the plague that killed Rabbi Akiva’s 24,000 disciples, came to an end. This is why the mourning period of Sefirat HaOmer concludes on Lag BaOmer for some people.

The counting of the Omer is a semi-mourning period. All restrictions of mourning are lifted on this 33rd day of the Omer. Across the world, it is customary for people to spend the day outside. Music is played, and people are seen singing and dancing to celebrate the occasion. Again, boys who turned three during the Omer period, but did not have their first haircut, have them today. Recognising the fiery spirit, bonfires are also kindled. However, this year’s celebration will be different. The traditional bonfire is banned this year, because of the COVID-19 spread. Hence, people will observe the day at their home.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on May 10, 2020 09:34 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website