With Lag B’Omer, it’s OK not to be certain. There are different points of view about its origins.
However, one thing is sure: this is a fun holiday that comes 33 days into the 49-day Counting of the Omer (after Passover and before Shavuot) where people celebrate, often outside: think picnics, ball games, roasting marshmallows, and cranking up that grill.
Lag B’Omer basics
What’s it mean? Lag B’Omer means the 33rd day of the omer. The Hebrew letters of “Lag” – “lamed” which stands for the number 30 and “gimmel” which stands for the number 3 – add up in numerical value to 33.
A little background Lag B’Omer signals the release from mourning for those who refrain from weddings or cutting their hair or throwing big parties during the first part of the counting, in memory of 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva who died in a plague two thousand years ago. On the 33rd day, according to tradition, the plague stopped for a day, so we celebrate.
What’s the mystical connection? Another explanation for Lag B’Omer is that on this day the renowned Jewish mystic Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, on his death bed, revealed secrets from the Torah.
“A tremendous glow, a brilliant light illuminated the house as Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai returned his soul, pure and righteous, to his maker.”
This article from The Jewish Magazine, written by Eliezer Cohen, paints a wonderful picture of the gathering that takes place in Israel, in the town of Meron, on this day.
Check out some cute Lag B’Omer treats you can make on our Pinterest page. (Look for the campfire cake and bonfire cupcakes.)
Or just roast some hotdogs while you toss the ball in the backyard. This year, Lag B’Omer begins at sundown on April 27th — making it perfect for a Saturday night campfire or a Sunday picnic.