What Shavuot is about
Shavuot is a Jewish holiday celebrated on the sixth day of the Hebrew month of Sivan (May-June in the secular calendar).
Shavuot commemorates the giving of the Torah by G-d on Mount Sinaï , but is also a biblical pilgrimage festival (Shalosh Regalim) and the conclusion of the counting of the Omer.
Meaning literrally "weeks", Shavuot is celebrated exactly 7 weeks after the counting of the Omer, on the second day of Passover.
Shavuot is therefore celebrated exactly 50 days after the first of of Passover, hence its name Pentecost (fiftieth day).
Shavuot is not considered a major holiday in the Diaspora, where Jews usually have a custom to study Torah all night long, to consume a Dairy meal (usually cheese cake in the Ashkénazi word), and to read the Book of Ruth during the morning service. In Israel, and especially in agricultural settlements, celebrations and parades are held to show off the products of the fields, a reminder of the bikkurim.
Another difference between Israel and the Diaspora is that while in Israel Shavuot is celebrated for 1 day, it is celebrated for two days in the Diaspora.
Our Family traditions
Shavuot doesn’t hold a lot of family traditions.
It was customary, even in Algeria, to eat something dairy for the holiday of Shavuot, but people in Algeria didn’t cook much with dairy products (not that many cows in Algeria).
Only 2 traditional recipes have resisted the passage of time:
People would drink some Lait caillé (curd cheese) , and a couscous au beurre was prepared.
We can’t find any lait caillé anymore, thankfully, but we still love the couscous au beurre, served with hard boiled eggs and Kefir, although it is more and more common to spend the meal of Shavuot eating some French dairy recipes, like potato gratin, or cheese tart.