38th day of Iyar
Lag BaOmer is the literal translation of the 33rd day of the Omer Count, which is a Jewish custom that counts 49 days from Passover to Shavu’ot marking several events in Jewish history.
Lag BaOmer is a time of semi-mourning; it is the solemn “break” during the Omer Count, in which grieving traditions are performed.
Lag BaOmer commemorates the sole victory of the glorious Bar Kochvah, the leader of the rebellion against the Romans; as well as a celebration of the end of the horrible plague that killed many of Rabbi Akivah’s students.
Lag BaOmer is identified with Jewish heroism and the continuous struggle to maintain a Jewish identity and maintain Jewish traditions under foreign occupation.
Lag BaOmer has many different customs and traditions:
• Bon Fires – one of the most famous customs of the holiday is having bon fires – to celebrate the light and to remind us of an ancient way of communicating that the rebels used.
• Simchas – Lag BaOmer is the only day of joy and celebration in all 49 days between Passover and Shavu’ot and therefore, the only day in which it is allowed to celebrate Simchas, such as weddings and Bar Mitzvahs.
• Arching games – to celebrate Bar Kokhvah’s victory with bows and arrows.
• Visiting the grave of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai – the great sage and mystic, author of the book of Kabbalah “the Zohar”, who died on the day Lag BaOmer.