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Shavuot in Canada

Quick Facts

Shavuot, also known as the Festival of Weeks, is one of three major Jewish festivals celebrated among many Jewish Canadians.

Local names

Schawuot (Wochenfest)German

Shavuot 2017

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Shavuot 2018

Sunday, May 20, 2018
Note: Jewish holidays begin at sundown the day before the date specified for the holiday.
List of dates for other years

Many Jewish Canadians observe Shavuot, which is the second of three major Jewish festivals that focus on historical and agricultural importance. The other two are Passover and Sukkot. Shavuot follows Passover by 50 days. Shavuot occurs on the sixth day of the month of Sivan in the Jewish calendar.

Wheat in the field
Shavuot is a Jewish festival that has both historical and agricultural importance.
Shavuot is a Jewish festival that has both historical and agricultural importance.
©iStockphoto.com/Tal Naveh

What Do People Do?

Many Jewish communities in Canada take part in various traditions to mark Shavuot. Dairy products are traditionally eaten on this day. Some dairy meals may include cheesecake, savory goat cheese strudel, or cheese blintzes (thin pancakes containing cheese). Some people use this time to revisit the Ten Commandments and reflect on the meaning behind each of the commandments. Shavuot also celebrates the bikurim, which is the first fruits that were brought as offerings to the ancient Temple in Jerusalem, so some people make meals out of fruit, including fruit salad.

Many Jewish people read the Book of Ruth and some stay up throughout the night to read the Torah (the five books of Moses). Some people also take some of their annual holiday during this time of the year to refrain from work on Shavuot. Some sources say that, according to Jewish custom, no work is permitted on Shavuot except cooking, baking, transferring fire and carrying objects or equipment.

Public Life

Shavuot is not a federal public holiday in Canada. However, some Jewish people may take some of their annual vacation around this time of the year.


Shavuot is the second of three pilgrim festivals and it follows the Passover by 50 days. It is also known as the Festival of Weeks, the Feast of Weeks, or the Feast of the Harvest because it originally marked the end of the seven weeks of the Passover barley harvest and the beginning of the wheat harvest. At one time, Jewish men were expected to bring their first omer, or sheaf, of barley to the Temple in Jerusalem as a thanksgiving offering.

After the period of Jewish slavery in Egypt, Shavuot also celebrated Moses’ return from the top of Mt Sinai with the two stone tablets containing the “Ten Commandments”. These commandments are the most fundamental laws of the Jewish faith. Therefore, Shavuot is also known as the Festival of the Giving of the Law.

About Shavuot in other countries

Read more about Shavuot.

Shavuot Observances

Note: Jewish holidays begin at sundown the day before the date specified for the holiday.
WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday typeWhere it is observed
WedMay 301990ShavuotJewish holiday 
SunMay 191991ShavuotJewish holiday 
SunJun 71992ShavuotJewish holiday 
WedMay 261993ShavuotJewish holiday 
MonMay 161994ShavuotJewish holiday 
SunJun 41995ShavuotJewish holiday 
FriMay 241996ShavuotJewish holiday 
WedJun 111997ShavuotJewish holiday 
SunMay 311998ShavuotJewish holiday 
FriMay 211999ShavuotJewish holiday 
FriJun 92000ShavuotJewish holiday 
MonMay 282001ShavuotJewish holiday 
FriMay 172002ShavuotJewish holiday 
FriJun 62003ShavuotJewish holiday 
WedMay 262004ShavuotJewish holiday 
MonJun 132005ShavuotJewish holiday 
FriJun 22006ShavuotJewish holiday 
WedMay 232007ShavuotJewish holiday 
MonJun 92008ShavuotJewish holiday 
FriMay 292009ShavuotJewish holiday 
WedMay 192010ShavuotJewish holiday 
WedJun 82011ShavuotJewish holiday 
SunMay 272012ShavuotJewish holiday 
WedMay 152013ShavuotJewish holiday 
WedJun 42014ShavuotJewish holiday 
SunMay 242015ShavuotJewish holiday 
SunJun 122016ShavuotJewish holiday 
WedMay 312017ShavuotJewish holiday 
SunMay 202018ShavuotJewish holiday 
SunJun 92019ShavuotJewish holiday 
FriMay 292020ShavuotJewish holiday 

Other holidays in May 2017 in Canada


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