The 29th of Heshvan Ethiopian Jews celebrate Sigd, a holiday in which the community rejoices for the renewal of the alliance between the people, G-D and His Torah. During the holiday, the community fasts and holds communal self-examination in order to be worthy to return to Jerusalem from exile.
Some interesting facts about Sigd:
- The name of the holiday is derived from the Hebrew word "Sgida" which means bowing, prostration.
- The holiday originated in the book of Nechemia
- In Ethiopia, the Sigd ceremony was held on a high mountain (resembling Mt. Sinai). The community would bathe in the rivers and climb up the mountain to pray. The ceremony began with the Kes reading excerpts from the bible, speaking in Ge'ez.
- In Israel, members of the Ethiopian community make their way to Jerusalem to the promenade at "Armon Hanatziv" where they hold the religious ceremony.
- In 2008, the Knesset legislated the "Sigd-Law" declaring its date as a national holiday.
What a wonderful holiday, what a wonderful community, what a wonderful way to see the unique, diverse cultures we have as Jews all around the world.