Fifteenth of Av

Fifteenth of Av (Tu be-Av; Hamishah Asar b'Av)

Between July 23 and August 21; Av 15
During the time of the Second Temple in Jerusalem (dedicated between 521 and 517 b.c.e. and destroyed in 70 c.e.), this was a Jewish folk festival in which young women would dress in white and dance in the vineyards, where young bachelors would come to choose their brides.
There are a number of explanations for why the festival was celebrated this way. According to the Talmud, the 15th day of Av was the day when members of different tribes were allowed to intermarry. It was also the day when the cutting of trees to burn on the altar ceased, because the heat of the sun was diminishing and there was some concern that the trees wouldn't dry properly. It's also possible that the holiday was adapted from an ancient Summer Solstice festival.
Although in modern times there have been attempts by the new settlements in Israel to turn this day into one of music and folk dancing, the idea doesn't seem to have caught on. The Fifteenth of Av is marked only by a ban on eulogies or fasting.
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Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.