Shemini Atzeret is a Jewish holiday that is celebrated on the twenty-second day of Tishrei – which falls between September and October on the Gregorian calendar. It is a religious holiday that is celebrated after the Sukkot and is treated as both the end of Sukkot and as an independent holiday in its own right.
Customs and Observations
One of the most prevalent customs on Shemini Atzeret is the recital of the Tefilat Geshem – or the prayer for rain. This prayer is recited because rain is a much needed commodity in the Land of Isreal during this time and is necessary to sustain crops and livestock. Another custom that is often observed on this day is the wearing of white by the leader of the synagogue. The dancing of hokafot is also done during this time around the bimah of the synagogue. Also recited on this day in Ashkenazi synagogues is the Yizkor. The Yizkor are prayers that are recited to mourn a lost parent or loved one.
Since this holiday is directly mentioned in the Bible, it is observed by outside of rabbinical Jewish traditions as well. It is observed by both in Karaite Judaism and in the Samaritan tradition tradition as well.