The Jewish holiday of Sigd will be celebrated on Thursday morning October 31st. It is normally celebrated on the 29th of the Hebrew month of Cheshvan, 50 days after Yom Kippur but has been pushed up so as not to conflict with Shabbat.
Thousands will attended the central ceremony at the Armon Hanatziv promenade in Jerusalem. The fast lasts from morning until afternoon at the completion of the prayer service. The festival is based upon the events related in the Book of Nehemiah chapter 8 and 9 in which the Biblical prophets Ezra and Nehemiah led the Jewish people out of Babylonian exile and back into the Land of Israel. They celebrated with a ceremony of fasting and praying on a mountain top. The Beta Israel community of Ethiopia kept this tradition in Ethiopia and it has special significance in Israel as a personal exodus and redemption into the modern State of Israel. Sigd became an official state holiday in 2010.
For last year's photo essay click here.