So Sukkot is one of those celebrations that kind of comes and goes as a tradition without really feeling much like a celebration. We’re eating outdoors. Big deal, right? Well, it’s usually the last opportunity we have to eat outdoors until next Spring. I find that we’re often lucky, well at least in my little corner of the world, to experience warm weather for Sukkot. An Indian Summer they call it. The weather smiles favourably for our Sukkot. Much nicer than having teeth chatter whist you’re trying to eat. Lazy summer meals outside we take for granted. But the sukkot meals are more appreciated as we know the cold will come soon. The air feels crisp and fresh and it gets darker earlier but with the Indian sun peeking through, my little family and our friends embrace the last of outdoor evening fun for a while.
I’ve put together a suggestion list for ways you can enjoy Sukkot with your family as well.
1. Well, traditionally speaking, we build a temporary shelter outdoors to eat under. It’s supposed to have a roof made from branches. This can be realized steadfast or loosely interpreted depending on how willing you are to embrace tradition. You could put up a pop-up canopy outside and cover with branches, or you could place a big vase of branches that hang over in the centre of your picnic table. The emphasis is on eating outside under some form of shelter. If you can find a way to tick that box, awesome. It shouldn’t be a hassle nor forced, this is supposed to be an enjoyable low key celebration.
2. Bring the four symbols of Sukkot into your decor for the week. They are; lemons, a palm frond, a myrtle branch and a willow branch. A bowl full of lemons looks and smells lovely. As does a lemon wreath! [Think round wreath base+lemons (real or fake0 hot glued on...easy peasy!] Willow makes fabulous centrepieces and great branches to hang felt decorations from…the creative possibilities are endless.
3. Bring the candles outside. Lazy summer meals never really get to see candles enjoyed effectively because it stays light out for so long. The days are shorter now, it’s an opportunity to bring some coziness to the table. Obviously be safe with the candles though; don’t place them anywhere that could cause a concern. Ideally place your candles in glass votives or jars, perhaps on a bed of lemons? Hmmm. I might try that!
4. Combine your sukkot with a barbecue. I absolutely adore sweet potatoes roasted in tin foil. When Autumn harvest veg meets barbecue, great things happen!
5. Teach your children how to make paper chains. Easy and so satisfying, paper chains are perfect for draping over a sukkah [the outdoor shelter] and are a very traditional decoration for it.
6. Eat Sushi with friends. I really don’t know why, but lots of people eat Sushi for Sukkot. It’s not very Autumninal, but it is a recognized practice around the world. So why not, sushi is yummy. It’s an excuse to eat it!
7. Or eat Pizza. I read lots of suggestions of Pizza for Sukkot when I was looking around to see how Sukkot is celebrated across the globe. I think this is supposed to just be dumb humour [pizza in the hut, ha ha] but actually I really like pizza and consider it a comfort food. It’s also pretty easy to eat outdoors. So why not?
8. Or Eat barbecued fish. I know I’m on a barbecue kick–but fish on the barbie is awesome and looks/tastes lovely served on a bed of warm lemon slices [check box, tick!] so it ties into the theme…
9. Plan a sukkot meal in a park surrounded by natural Autumn colour. We’re supposed to be in a temporary shelter [called a sukkah] with a roof made of branches. If you pick the right spot, with branches overhead, isn’t that nearly the same thing? It’s an Autumn celebration, so I dare say I think the right park fills the obligation nicely.
10.Or one better! Go camping. If the weather is favourable, really embrace Autumn in a true Sukkot shelter, a tent! Just be sure to put your tent under trees or cover with a few branches on top.
Happy Sukkot, and Enjoy Autumn Outdoors!!