Did you ever wonder why we celebrate Lag B'Omer with picnics and bonfires?
Lag BaOmer, translated as the 33rd day of the counting of the Omer, falls right between the holidays of Passover and Shavuot. Set in the Spring it has become a day to enjoy the season with relay races and outdoor sports all culminating in the memorable bonfires.
Even those living in warmer climates appreciate the day for gathering with friends and family around a bonfire (or at least firing up a grill) to make Lag BaOmer extra-ordinarily special.
While there are many unusual customs for Lag BaOmer, most of which are rooted in Jewish mysticism, building a bonfire to commemorate the death of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai is probably the most widespread.
Rabbi Shimon, who lived in Israel in the second century CE, fled from the Romans who wanted to execute him for criticizing the Roman government. Along with his son, Rabbi Elazar, the duo lived in a cave and learned Torah for 12 years, uncovering the secrets of the Zohar which became the landmark text of Jewish mysticism. Upon emerging from the cave, whatever mundane activities their eyes beheld would be destroyed by a mystically fueled fire, causing the rabbis to return to their hideaway for an additional 12-month 'cooling period' before mainstreaming into the world.
As Torah is compared to fire and light, the custom to build a bonfire honors the spiritual "light" Rabbi Shimon's Torah teachings brought to the world. Since he died on Lag BaOmer, there is a Jewish custom to light, not just one candle, but many, and to build bonfires as a tribute to the "light" of Torah he created.
While roasting hot dogs and s'mores are natural bonfire activities, we have lots of ideas to help you celebrate the day wherever you are and whatever the weather.
Whether you go out for a quaint picnic with the family or invite the gang over for a BBQ we have everything you need to make it memorable including the S'mores.
Start with some fun Lag Baomer Crafting with the kids.
Make hats and parachutes to take with you to the park.
Then pack up the Perfect Picnic Basket with Jamie's tips to either a dairy or meat feast on the go.
Don't forget the S'mores!!
Even if you can't get to a bonfire you can still have some S'mores, check out all the ways to eat S'mores.
If you like to do things a little differently, instead of marshmallows, bring out the fruit. Skewering chunks of nut-coated pineapple, bananas and oranges, which can be toasted over the fire, is a wonderful way to savor a delightful and healthy dessert. Perfect for simple backyard meals all summer long (just grill the kabobs instead of roasting them), if you love the outdoors, this will be a recipe you'll turn too again and again.
What do you do on Lag B'Omer?