Today is Tu B’Av which perhaps many do not know is a day of love in the Jewish calendar. If it helps, it’s sort of like Valentine’s Day, except that it’s not just a day to celebrate love but actually to find love.
In the Talmud it tells us of how all the single women would wear white and go out to the fields to dance and pray to God. This day also marked and celebrated the beginning of the grape harvest. Men were encouraged to go and find a possible wife.
There were no greater festivals for Israel than the 15th of Av and Yom Kippur. On these days the daughters of Jerusalem would go out… and dance in the vineyards. And what would they say? “Young man, raise your eyes and see which you select for yourself….”
“And so it is written, “Go out, daughters of Zion, and see King Solomon,1 in the crown with which his mother crowned him on his wedding day and on the day of his heart’s rejoicing” (Song of Songs 3:11). “His wedding day” — this is the Giving of the Torah; “the day of his heart’s rejoicing” — this is the building of the Holy Temple, which shall be rebuilt speedily in our days.
Talmud, Taanit 26b
What is it about women wearing white? It seems like the tradition of wearing white is related to love somehow. It became especially popular to wear white lace on your wedding day after Queen Victoria got married in 1842.
Alas, it seems white, in Jews tradition, has always symbolized purity and holiness. Women wore white on Tu B’Av to symbolize this, again on Yom Kippur when we are pure and absolved of our sins from the previous year, and on a bride’s wedding night.
Tu B’Av continues to be a day of love, a wonderful date to get engaged and married on!
For more events that are marked by Tu B’Av in Jewish history, check out the wikipedia page: