What is Shavuot | Answers to Your Feast of Shavuot Questions

Food you would normally see at the Feast of Shavuot.

What is Shavuot? Discovering the significance of Shavuot is a journey Believers are taking as they explore their spiritual heritage. Many have questions about the Feast of Shavuot, such as:

  • Are Shavuot and Pentecost the same thing? 
  • What are the customs of the Feast of Shavuot?
  • When is the Feast of Shavuot celebrated?
  • How is the Feast of Shavuot celebrated?

Read below to find the answers to these questions and many more. Unlock your spiritual heritage and discover the significance of the Feast of Shavuot.  

When is the Feast of Shavuot?

The Feast of Shavuot 2023 begins on Thursday, May 25, and ends on May 27. The Jewish, or Hebraic, calendar differs from the traditional Gregorian calendar we use today. It is based on the earth’s rotation around its axis (one day), the moon’s rotation around the earth (average 29 ½ days), and the earth’s rotation around the sun (365 ¼ days).

As a result of using the Hebraic calendar, the Feasts of the Lord shift from year to year. 

  • Check out our Jewish calendar HERE.

Are Shavuot and Pentecost the Same Thing?

This is a common question. A simple explanation is yes. However, to better understand the answer, you must understand how the two are connected. In short, Pentecost is the Greek name for the Feast of Shavuot. 

Shavuot is

A day of celebration and remembrance of God’s instruction given to Moses at Mount Sinai. 

  • “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes. And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day the Lord will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.’”—Exodus 19:10-11

Pentecost is…

A day of celebration and remembrance of God’s instruction. However, instead of the instruction coming down from Mount Sinai, He deposited His Spirit–Holy Spirit who leads us into all truth–into those who followed Christ on Pentecost. 

Pentecost means fiftieth in Greek, so it is the Greek name for the Feast of Shavuot. 

  • “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”—Acts 2:1-4

Read more about the importance and connection of these days by clicking on the links below. 

  • Discover how fire plays a key role in the Feast of Shavuot/Pentecost HERE.  
  • Discover a deeper understanding of the connection between Shavuot and Pentecost HERE.
series of fire illustrations.

What Are Other Names for Feast of Shavuot?

Shavuot is referred to as…

  • Feast of Shavuot
  • Festival of Weeks
  • Festival of Reaping
  • Day of Firstfruits

Pentecost is referred to as…

  • The birth of the Church
  • The Feast of Pentecost
  • Day of Pentecost

Shavuot is the second of three Pilgrimage Festivals in God’s Word and is still celebrated today. Instituted by God during the time of Moses, Shavuot has many ties to agriculture in the Word as it marked the beginning of the wheat harvest. Yet, while this agricultural importance has lessened in recent years, Shavuot still retains significant importance for all who believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Book pages making a heart against beautiful sunset.

How Can Believers Celebrate the Feast of Shavuot?

During this time, Believers take a moment to examine their hearts and ask the Holy Spirit to renew their minds and focus on the meaning of their covenant relationship with the Lord.

This renewal flows over from our minds to our attitudes. It is a time of purging the old and preparing for renewed instruction and revelation.

Just as the Jews went to the Temple and offered firstfruits and thanked God for what He had done and what He would do, we can do the same. The same Fire of the Holy Spirit that burned the Ten Commandments into the tablets of stone has written His law into our hearts and minds. There is a call to renew it!

“But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”—Jeremiah 31:33

“But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, ‘This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,’ then He adds, ‘Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.’ Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.”—Hebrews 10:15-16

  • Click HERE to read about preparing for Shavuot. 

Is It Important for the Church to Celebrate Shavuot?

Some ask if the Feast of Shavuot should be celebrated in the Church today. The answer lies in the heart and desire of Believers to gain a better understanding of their spiritual inheritance and experience a deeper relationship with the Lord. 

Since Shavuot, or Pentecost, is tied to the birth of the Church, it is wise for us to recall and remember this momentous day of our heritage.  

Read this 2-part series about the events of the “coming of the Holy Spirit,” the birth of the Church, as the disciples gathered in the upper room. 

Click here to get your very own Shavuot Illustrated Paperback book!

How is the Feast of Shavuot Celebrated?

Shavuot is often celebrated by reading the book of Ruth. Not only is this story centered around the harvest season, but it is a love story that symbolically represents our marriage covenant with God through our kinsman-redeemer, Jesus. 

  • Discover 4 more ways to celebrate the Feast of Shavuot HERE

Why Do We Read the Story of Ruth on Shavuot?

There are a number of reasons the story of Ruth is read on Shavuot…

One reason is that Shavuot focuses on a time of harvest. Ruth’s story is also about the harvest. 

Historically, Shavuot was a holiday celebrating abundance during the grain harvest. This festival, in ancient times, centered around the agrarian culture of the Jewish people living in Israel. During this time, they would bring their first fruits of the harvest as an offering to the Lord. This was an act of thanksgiving for all that the Lord had provided for them throughout the year.

Boaz, the kinsman-redeemer, finds Ruth gleaning the fields behind the harvesters. This likely took place during the time of Shavuot. 

  • Discover 2 more reasons why the story of Ruth is read on Shavuot HERE.  
  • Read a summary of Ruth’s story HERE and how it relates to a new identity, just like we are made new in Christ. 

What does the word Shavuot mean?

The word Shavuot literally means weeks. It is the conclusion of a 7-week time period, which is referred to as Counting of the Omer, that follows Passover. For centuries, Shavuot has been recognized as the giving of divine knowledge from the LORD.

  • Read more about Shavuot HERE. 

What Does the Word Pentecost Mean?

Pentecost is named after the Greek word pentekoste, meaning fiftieth. It was the ancient Greek term for Shavuot.

  • Read more about Pentecost and its connection with Shavuot HERE

What is the Counting of the Omer?

The Counting of the Omer is the 7-week (or 50 days) time between Passover and Shavuot. The Counting of the Omer, also known as the Counting Down of the Omer, is a time of great introspection.

Discover more about the Counting of the Omer by clicking on the links below…

  • The Counting of the Omer is a time to purge the old and prepare to receive the new. Discover more HERE
  • What is the Counting of the Omer mean for a Believer? Discover HERE. 
  • How does the Counting of the Omer prepare you? Discover HERE

Why Teach Kids About Shavuot?

When you teach kids about Shavuot and Pentecost, it helps them connect to their spiritual heritage and see God’s divine hand in all of creation. They can see that nothing is by accident, and all things align with His Word and promises. 

Teaching kids about Shavuot and Pentecost brings the reality of their heritage and past into the present. It brings God’s Word and His promises alive in a way that they begin to see and experience the God of the Bible rather than only reading about Him as a distant King in a far-off land. They understand Him as a personal God who wants a personal relationship with them. 

  • Discover 7 ways to teach kids about Shavuot HERE.

What Now? 

There is an order to God’s plan. Within the Feasts of the Lord is a pattern to God’s divine structure. The feasts reveal prophecies that have been and still will be fulfilled. God’s plan is that Jew and Gentile come together as One New Man to have deeper revelation and understanding of the Lord’s plans. 

Those who He calls to be the remnant seek to understand the Father. They long to be empowered by the Holy Spirit so they can move forward when the Lord releases them into their Kingdom purposes. 

Is this you? Is the Creator of the Universe calling you? Is His voice resonating with your spirit? 

Click HERE to discover how the Spring Feasts of Passover and Shavuot are part of your heritage. Gain a deeper revelation of your deliverance from death and an understanding of your Kingdom purpose. Be prepared to receive the Holy Spirit’s instruction in the next season.