Shavuot is also known as the festival or feast of 'Weeks'. There is no set date for the two day festival but it takes place seven weeks (fifty days) after the first day of the spring festival of Passover. During these seven weeks, the Jewish people cleansed themselves of the scars of Egyptian slavery and became a holy nation, ready to enter into an eternal covenant with G-d with the giving of the Torah. Shavuot is the second of the three major festivals (Passover being the first, and Sukkoth the third).
This also marks the start of the wheat
harvest and the end of the barley harvest.
Shavuot marks the time that the Jews received the Torah on Mount Sinai. Prayers are said on Shavuot (especially at dawn) to thank G-d for the five books of Moses (known as the Torah) and for his law. Some people also spend the first night of Shavuot studying the Torah.
The Torah (means instruction or guide) is composed of two parts: the Written Law and the Oral Law. The written Torah contains the Five Books of Moses, the Prophets and the Writings. Together with the Written Torah, Moses was also given the Oral Law, which explains and clarifies the Written Law. It was transmitted orally from generation to generation and eventually transcribed in the Mishna, Talmud and Midrash.
On the holiday of Shavuot the entire Jewish nation heard from G-d the Ten Commandments.
This is a biblical holiday complete with special prayers, holiday candle lighting and kiddush. During the course of the holiday we don't go to work, drive, write or switch on or off electric devices. We are permitted to cook and to carry outdoors.
Synagogues are decorated with flowers and plants on this joyous occasion to remember the flowers of Mount Sinai.
Dairy products are also eaten during Shavuot. There are many interpretations about why this custom is observed.
It is believed that once the rules about the preparation of meat were revealed in the Torah, the people of Sinai were reluctant to eat meat until they fully understood the rules.
Book of Ruth
There are five books in Tanakh that are known as Megillot ("scrolls") and are publicly read in the synagogues on different Jewish holidays. The Book of Lamentations, which details the destruction of the Holy Temple, is the reading for Tisha B'Av; the Book of Ecclesiastes, which touches on the ephemeralness of life, corresponds to Sukkot; the Book of Esther (Megillat Esther) retells the events of Purim; and the Song of Songs, which echoes the themes of springtime and G-d's love for the Jewish people, is the reading for Passover.
The Book of Ruth (Megillat Ruth) corresponds to the holiday of Shavuot both in its descriptions of the barley and wheat harvest seasons and Ruth's desire to become a member of the Jewish people, who are defined by their acceptance of the Torah. Moreover, the lineage described at the end of the Book lists King David as Ruth's great-grandson. According to tradition, David was born and died on Shavuot