Lag B’omer is a Jewish holiday that occurs on the 33rd day of the traditional Omer count—the 49-day period between Passover and Shavuot. A break from the “semi-mourning” of the Omer, it is a festive day on the Jewish calendar, traditionally celebrated with parades, bonfires, and other outdoor events.
Lag B’omer commemorates the passing of the second-century Talmudic sage and teacher of the Kabbalah, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, who requested that his death be marked as “the day of my joy.”
Lag B’omer took place on Sunday, May 14, this year and was celebrated with a day-long parade and street fair on Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights. An estimated 30,000 people gathered to watch and participate in The Great Parade that marched along Eastern Parkway between Brooklyn and Albany Avenues. Eighteen wheeler trucks showcased 15 colorful floats created by local schools that depicted scenes of Jerusalem, ancient Jewish customs, and more.
Marching bands joined in the festivities as well as more than 50 school groups and organizations from the tri-state area and beyond. The street fair featured jugglers, acrobats, and clowns; singers and musicians; children’s rides; concession stands; and professional BMX riders performing stunts.
This Brooklyn event was originally launched in the early 1950s and has steadily grown over the years. The event organizers say it is currently the largest parade of its kind in the country.
“The theme of Lag B’omer is Jewish pride and unity,” said parade chairman, Rabbi Shimon Hecht. “What better way to celebrate than by marching proudly in the streets.”