Name Meaning
Shavuot Weeks
Yom Habikkurim Day of the First Fruits
Chag HaKatzir The Harvest Festival
Atzeret The Stoppage
Zeman Matan Torahteinu The Time of the Giving of Our Torah

Shavuot (or Shavuos) means “weeks,” and it refers to the Biblical Holiday celebrated on Sivan 6 (and 7 in the Diaspora) on the anniversary of the giving of the Torah at Sinai. It celebrates the completion of the seven-week Omer counting period between the second day of Passover and Shavuot.

The same Hebrew word also means “oaths,” which is the subject of the Talmudic tractate of Shavuot.

The Other Names of Shavuot

Shavuot is also the celebration of the wheat harvest and the ripening of the first fruits, which is the reason for the other two biblical names for this holiday: 1) "Yom Habikkurim" or the "Day of the First Fruits." 2) "Chag HaKatzir," the "Harvest Festival."

In the Talmud, Shavuot is also called "Atzeret," which means "The Stoppage," a reference to the prohibition against work on this holiday.

In the holiday prayer service, we refer to it as “Zeman Matan Torahteinu,” the "Time of the Giving of Our Torah."

What Shavuot Means Today

Today, Shavuot is celebrated by Jews around the world through lighting candles each evening, staying up all night to learn Torah, hearing the 10 Commandments in synagogue on the first morning of Shavuot, and the consumption of dairy foods such as cheesecake and blintzes.

Learn more about what Shavuot commemorates and how it is celebrated