I was having a conversation with a Jewish friend of mine today when the subject of Tu B’Shvat came up and I just kind of stared blankly. I went to school with a disproportionately high number of Jews (and took a bunch of Judaic Studies courses in my second and third years of college), so I have a fairly good grasp of Judaism, but this was new to me.
It turns out that Tu B’Shvat is a minor Jewish holiday celebrating the new year of the trees that takes place at the end of January or beginning of February. It is traditionally celebrated by eating dried fruits and nuts and planting trees. Tu B’Shvat is one of four new years days mentioned in the Talmud, along with the new year for kings and festivals, the new year for animal tithes and the new year for calculation of the calendar, sabbatical years and jubilees.*
*For more reading about Tu B’Shvat and the breakdown of the new year’s days in the Jewish tradition, see here.