The Lag B’Omer Lowdown: History & Activities

In Jewish tradition, we count the 49 days between the second night of Passover and the beginning of Shavuot. This is called S’firat Ha’Omer (“The Counting of the Omer”). On the 33rd day of counting, we celebrate the holiday of Lag B’Omer.

“Lag” is an abbreviated combination of two Hebrew letters that, according to Hebrew numerology, add up to the number 33.


The Lag Ba’Omer Lowdown: History & Activities

Lag B’Omer is traditionally celebrated with great joy. Jewish sources offer a range of opinions as to the origins of this joy.

The Talmud says Lag B’Omer celebrates the halt of a plague that took the lives of thousands of students of the great teacher Rabbi Akiva. Other sources say Lag B’Omer celebrates a victory for the armies of the Jewish leader Bar Kochba. Some associate Lag B’Omer with stories about Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, a student of Rabbi Akiva and writer of an important Jewish text.

Want a deep dive into the history of Lag B'omer? Visit MyJewishLearning


A number of traditions and customs have developed around the holiday of Lag B’Omer. In Israel and beyond, for example, many families light bonfires to brighten up cities and countryside alike. In addition, many Jewish couples schedule weddings and parties on Lag B'Omer.

Interested in celebrating Lag B'Omer this year? Try one of these fun activities:

Build a Campfire

Lag B’Omer falls in mid-to- late spring, making it a great time to break out the camping gear — or at least light a fire in a fire pit. Don't forget to make some delicious s'mores!

Pull Out the Bows & Arrows

Israeli children typically play with bows and (suction-cup-tipped) arrows on Lag Ba’Omer, imitating students of Rabbis Akiva and Shimon who fooled the Romans by pretending they were hunting. Relay races are another fun holiday activity.

Put on a Parade

Some communities stage parades for Lag B’Omer. Your family can organize a parade of its own. March around the block or just around the house and yard.

Get a Haircut

Yes, a haircut! The Counting of the Omer is treated as a semi-mourning period, and observant Jews refrain from haircutting during such a time. Because Lag B’Omer suspends that restriction, it is a traditional time for young children to get their first haircuts.