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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 September 2007, 12:27 GMT 13:27 UK
In pictures: Preparing for Succot

Market in Jerusalem

Jewish people around the world are preparing to celebrate the holiday of Succot. At this market in Jerusalem, shoppers buy ritual objects associated with the festival.

People inspecting produce at table

During the week-long festival, worshippers wave four species of plants - a date palm frond, myrtle tree bough, a willow branch and an etrog (a citrus fruit) - in a special ceremony.

Man and boy

Great care is taken in selecting the branches, known collectively as the lulav, after which they are bundled together and placed in a special holder.

Man inspecting date palm frond

The species allude to parts of the human body. The palm frond (here) symbolises the spine; the myrtle tree bough, the eyes; the willow branch, the mouth; and the etrog, the heart.

Man inspecting myrtle tree bough

Ultra-Orthodox Jews are particularly stringent in ensuring the species meet strict religious requirements, in terms of length, hue and shape and quality of the leaves.

In particular, the etrog must be blemish-free. If the fragile stem, or pitom, is damaged at any time, the etrog is rendered useless.

In particular, the etrog must be blemish-free. If the fragile stem, known as the pitom, is damaged at any time, the etrog is rendered useless.

Man buying produce

Prices vary, depending on the authority of the rabbi under which the produce has been licensed. At this market, etrogs and branches sell for up to $25 each.

People checking produce

At the end of the festival, the lulav - which served a sacred purpose - is carefully disposed of, while it is common practice to use the etrog in recipes or turn it into jam.






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