What is a Sukkah (Succah)?
The Sukkah, or Succah, is a very important element in the celebration of the Sukkot festival. A Sukkah is the huts that Moses and the Israelites lived in as they wandered the desert for 40 years before they reached the Promised Land. These huts were made of branches and were easy to assemble, take apart, and carry as the Israelites wandered through the desert.
How to Build a Sukkah
From the ice cream stick and clay structures of school children to the homemade backyard huts of Jewish families, there are some important elements to remember when constructing a Sukkah.
While any material can be used to build a Sukkah including wood, canvas, aluminum, metal, and fiberglass. It is the dimensions that are important. The walls of the Sukkah should not be taller than 35 feet (960 cm) in height or shorter than 35 inches (80 cm). And the Sukkah should not be more than 12 inches (24 cm) off the ground.
An important part of a Sukkah is the roof. The roof must not be totally closed in, but must allow the sky to show through. Usually wooden slats are placed across the top and green branches, shrubbery, or foliage are placed across the beams to create a roof that allows the night sky to show through.
Sometimes the outside wall of the home is used as a starting point for the structure. This adds stability and helps reduce the costs of building the Sukkah. Windows are often included. The additional of electricity helps to make the Sukkah a comfortable, though temporary, home.
Once the structure is built family members decorate the interior of the sukkah by hanging fruit and vegetables, such as apples, grapes, corn, and pomegranates, from the roofing branches. The addition of New Years cards, posters, and party decorations help bring a fun and festive feeling to the structure and make it an inviting place for the family to enjoy their holiday meals.
Video: How to build a Sukkah
Craft Project: Make your own Sukkah: Instructions and Plans