The Legends and Customs of Shavuot
Many of the traditions and customs of Shavuot have evolved from the legends and stories describing the experiences of the Israelites at Mount Sinai. According to tradition the Israelites actually overslept on the morning of G-d’s visit. To compensate for this negligence, Jews hold a vigil on the eve of Shavuot. They stay awake from dusk to dawn, keeping themselves busy with the readings of the Torah and the Talmud. A digest of readings has evolved called Tikkun Leil Shavuot, the “Restoration of Shavuot Eve,” which includes selections from the Torah, the Prophets, the Talmud, and the Zohar.
Another Shavuot custom is the eating of dairy foods. One explanation states that this comes from a passage in the Torah which reads:
Another legend tells the story of the Israelites finding Mount Sinai blooming and lush with greenery and flowers. From this legend grew the custom to decorate the Jewish home and synagogue with tree branches and flowers. Some temples decorate the Torah scrolls with wreaths of roses.