75,000 Expected for Sukkot March

The traditional “Jerusalem Sukkot March” will be returning on Tuesday, and in a big way.

Hillel Fendel, | updated: 16:30

Jerusalem march
Jerusalem march
Israel news photo: Jeru.muni.org.il

The traditional “Jerusalem Sukkot March” is returning, and in a big way.

The annual march, generally held on the city’s central Jaffa Road thoroughfare, has been missing from Jerusalem's downtown Sukkot holiday scene in recent years because of the ongoing work on the new light-rail system. Now that the work is all but completed and Jaffa Rd. is once again traversable, the march has returned as well and will be held tomorrow afternoon (Tuesday).

The joyous march has drawn up to 20,000 people in the past, but this time some 75,000 are expected.

Its theme this year will be two-fold: “Returning Downtown Jerusalem to the Residents” and “100 Years of Transportation in Jerusalem.” It will be held along several routes and will be led by Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.

They will be accompanied by vehicles that have served Jerusalem over the past century: Horse-drawn wagons, Ottoman period carriages, old-style automobiles manufactured by the Israeli company HaMekasher, Egged buses from 1948 and onwards, and of course a light-rail train.

The parade will begin at 2:30 p.m., and Jaffa Rd. will be closed to vehicles from noon and onwards. In addition to marching groups representing public and commercial bodies, the parade will also feature IDF soldiers from various brigades, security and defense force contingents, youth groups, huge flags and large-scale exhibits.

Besides the Sukkot March itself, Jerusalem will come alive in other ways as well, with various displays, street theaters, musicians, story tellers and the like dotting the parade route.

The holiday of Sukkot is traditionally a specially joyous time, and the Bible specifically notes that the People of Israel rejoice both nationally and individually, in the Holy Temple and elsewhere at this time.

Later this year, there will be no need to close Jaffa Road to traffic. As of April 2011, when planners say the light rail train will be up and running, the historic thoroughfare will no longer be open to buses or cars; only the train and pedestrians will traverse it.