Why are there so many Jewish holidays?
Here's the answer:
The Jewish holidays each have a purpose—to praise God for His protection.
Holidays are fun! You get to be off school, visit friends, eat great food, and maybe even stay up later than usual. The word holiday is called a compound word, which means it puts two words together to make one word. We see the two words: "holy" + "day" = holiday. So a holiday is meant to be a time of rest and a day to think about God.
In Leviticus 23, God gave the Jewish people a weekly holiday, called Sabbath. It means rest, and God wanted them to stop working and to concentrate on Him. Sabbath begins at sundown on Friday and continues until sundown on Saturday. Jewish people celebrate this holiday every weekend all year long. Then God gave the Jewish people seven yearly feasts. These come in the spring, summer, and fall. The major spring feast is Passover, the summer feast is Pentecost, and the major fall holiday is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.
Later in time, other festivals were added. In Esther, we read of the feast of Purim, which celebrates God protecting His people from death by Haman. Then in December, near our Christmas, Jewish people celebrate the festival of Hanukkah, which honors the victory of the Jewish people over the Greek general, Antiochus Epiphanes.
During the holiday called Tisha B'Av, Jewish people remember the destruction of the two temples. No festivities occur on this day, only sorrow and sadness.
"The LORD spoke to Moses. He said, 'Speak to the people of Israel. Tell them, "Here are my appointed feast days. They are the appointed feast days of the LORD. Tell the people that they must come together for these sacred feasts"'" (Leviticus 24:1-2).
"The days the Jews were celebrating were called Purim. Purim comes from the word pur. Pur means 'lot.' Now the Jews celebrate those two days every year..." (Esther 9:26).