Sukkot, or the Feasts of Tabernacles, commemorates the Israelites' journey in the desert. It is a time for us to remember the Lord’s provision and protection. God was faithful to provide then, and you can trust He will provide now. To honor their spiritual heritage, many will build a sukkah.
A sukkah is a temporary dwelling that the Israelites built as they wandered in the wilderness after they were freed from slavery.
Sukkot is the final Fall Feast, and one of our favorites to celebrate at home. We think of this feast as a time to renew our marriage covenant with God. It’s also a time to renew our covenants as a family.
You can take part in this rich tradition and build a sukkah with your family!
Here’s How to Build a Sukkah
Step 1. Collect needed materials.
- Walls—A sukkah is generally in the shape of a square or rectangle, consisting of 3 walls. The walls can be made of nearly any material, as long as they can stand up to outside elements (traditionally, sukkahs are built outside). You can use wood, fabrics, or the exterior walls of your home or garage. Often, people use PVC pipes to construct the frame, then hang waterproof material over the frame. You will need to allow for one open side.
- Roof Covering—The roof is generally thatched and made of organic material. Common sukkah roof-coverings are branches, corn stalks, bamboo, or unfinished lumber. There should be spacing in the roof to allow for starlight to shine through at night, meaning it is not a solid covering.
- Lighting—You will want lighting of some kind in your sukkah. We like to use strands of Christmas lights. Others have used battery-powered lamps.
- Table and Chairs—You will set up tables and chairs in your sukkah so that you can enjoy your meals together as a family under the reminder of God’s protection and provision. Traditionally, all meals are eaten in the sukkah during Sukkot, but we encourage you to do what works for your family, responding to the Spirit’s leading.
- Decorations—You can decorate your sukkah however you would like. Many use fresh hanging fruit, wreaths, and pictures. Our family enjoys decorating with fall harvest décor. We load up on pumpkins and gourds and set them up inside the sukkah. It is a perfect time for the kids to create cutouts and hang them from the ceiling.
Step 2. Construct your sukkah.
There really is no wrong way to build a sukkah, other than, as mentioned, it needs an open side and a thatched roof.
Have fun with this step. Get your family involved, put on some music, dance, and sing as you begin putting the pieces together.
Don’t forget to set up your table and chairs!
Step 3. Decorate your sukkah.
Similar to step 2, have fun decorating with your family! It is a joyous occasion. All in all, the heart of building a sukkah is to spend the appointed time together as a family. Reflect on God’s goodness and provision. Don’t get caught up in the dos and don’ts, rather seek your Father’s face and enjoy the blessings of this holy festival.
Don’t want to build a sukkah? Consider purchasing a kit to use year after year.
Or order one from https://sukkahoutlet.com/
*If desired, make sure to order the bamboo mat (for the thatched roof), often sold separately.
How to Use Your Sukkah
After you build a sukkah, it is time to enjoy it!
Here are a few ways your family can use your sukkah.
- Eat meals together. Traditionally, all meals are eaten in the sukkah during the weeklong festival. However, the point is not to eat every meal in the sukkah. It is to enjoy the occasion together.
We typically use ours for dinner. Traditional foods vary for Sukkot, but we enjoy chili, soups, turkey, hot cider—anything that reminds us of autumn!
- Homeschool. Use your sukkah as a classroom for the week. Teach lessons and give your children the full Sukkot experience.
- Enjoy each other. You don’t have to limit your sukkah experience to just eating meals (or doing school). Think of it as a place to gather to enjoy each other’s company. You can play board games, listen to music, and dance. Kids love to spend time in sukkahs.
Want to know more about celebrating the Fall Feasts at home? Click HERE for a step-by-step guide for each Fall Feast.