Today is Tu B’Av, a minor holiday that’s often thought of as the Jewish Valentine’s Day. The holiday began in the Second Temple period to mark the start of the grape harvest, which then ended on Yom Kippur. It was also a day to find and celebrate love.
A fun article in the Forward shares eight odd facts about this lesser-known Jewish holiday.
Here’s what you need to know about this ancient day of love, which in 2016 starts in the evening of August 18 and ends in the evening of August 19:
1. This romantic holiday used to be the Second Temple period version of a singles mixer. Jewish women would go dancing in the vineyards, according to the Talmud, and unmarried men would go to the fields to pick out a wife.
2. The women would wear white dresses that they had borrowed, so that no one would be embarrassed if she didn’t own the proper garments.