The new year of trees
Both in the east and the west, in the wealthy countries and the poor countries, most of the countries globally have their own Tree-planting Day. But Tu Bishvat in Israel is more flourishing and ceremonious than that in other countries, just like the Chinese New Year. At that time, they have various kinds of activities and colorful traditional custom. Thus, Israel is filled with the joy of celebration.
The date of Tu Bishvat is according to the Jewish calendar. It is about the first ten-day period of the second month every year in the Gregorian calendar. They call it the new year of trees. Tu Bishvat in Israel is the New Year Day of millions of trees.
The festival tradition
According to the tradition, Israeli celebrate and dine together in Tu Bishvat. At dinner, they enjoy seven major kinds of crops, including wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranate, olive, date and their product. These seven kinds of crops are mentioned in Deuteronomy as Israel specialty. So according to the Jewish Law, they gain more respect than the other.
In a more traditional way, Israeli will put 15 kinds of fruit in the fruit plate to greet Tu Bishvat. These 15 kinds of fruit can be divided into four categories, including the fruit with soft pulp and hard shell, such as pineapple; the fruit that have soft pulp with hard core in them, such as peaches; the fruit that can be swallowed, such as strawberries; and fruit can only be appreciated, such as pine cones. In the meantime, people praise God and nature in the way of reciting poetry, chanting or singing, and thank the trees for their blessing for Israel, which makes them rich and prosperous for centuries.
On this day, Israeli schools usually have one day off to plant trees. After that, the children will also give the trees deinsectization fertilization, watering, and even a big hug as well as a kiss to the tree in roadside or park, expressing their gratitude.
Tu Bishvat means spring visits, many Israeli institutions, companies, enterprises have designated that day as the "Opening day." The 1918’s Tu Bishvat, for example, is the famous Hebrew University of Israel's prestigious institution. The Tu Bishvat in 1925, Israel Institute of Technology established. Besides, the Knesset was announced in the 1949’s Tree-planting tree.
In fact, on this day, almost every Israelis plant trees, and in this way, they express their gratitude to trees. Artists perform on stage to extol the merits and virtues of trees. The theme of the program is mostly about Singing trees or Thanking trees. Chinese people believe that the highest good is like that of water, while the Israelis are determined to the highest good is like that of trees.
The festival significance
For Israelis, planting trees is not only an innovative idea, but also a part of values and lifestyles. They plant trees to plant dream and hope. They plant trees to defend their homeland from the increasingly strong desert encroachment in a sense, like the ancient Chinese, they built and strengthened the great Wall to withstand the invasion of foreign invaders generation after generation.
Israel is with a total lack of water resources. And in southern Israel, the Negev region, is completely covered by large deserts, which account for about half of the entire land area, with annual precipitation of only 180 millimeters. Thus, Israel attaches great importance to planting trees to conserve water.
For decades, Israel's afforestation has been protected by law. Whether it is the afforestation, or a few sporadic household trees. According to the law, planting is allowed with the ban on cutting. Even felling private forests, they must gain the permission before, otherwise, they will be severely punished or even sanctioned. That is why Israel is one of the few countries in the world whose forest coverage rate is higher than that 100 years ago. At present, Israel's forest coverage rate is 5%-6%, and all of the forests are plantations, which is valuable in desert countries.