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Tu B’What?

Tu B’What?

“It’s Tu B’Av tonight,” I say casually to my friends, waiting for them to bite.

“It’s what?”

“Oh, Tu B’Av,” I say, my inner hipster breaking free. “It’s a pretty obscure Jewish holiday. You’ve probably never heard of it.”

“What is it?”

“Well, it’s like Valentine’s Day, only better.”

“What do you do?”


When I make the same speech about Purim vs. Halloween, it usually goes better. However, Purim is widely celebrated, well-known, and even has attracted high-profile non-Jews to the festivities. Snooki even attended a Purim party two years ago (where the roof caved in, but I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt and say it wasn’t her fault).

In the all-out war of the holidays, Tu B’Av should be a clear winner.

  • According to “exhaustive” Internet research, Tu B’Av probably predated Valentine’s Day (it obviously predated Christianity, but I’m referring to the pagan precursor to Valentine’s Day, which was Roman. Of course everything was probably pagan first, but I’ll save that for ruining my friends’ Tu B’Shvat).
  • The Talmud lists Tu B’Av as one of the happiest days of the year. Cupid is known for being a meddling toddler.
  • On Valentine’s Day, my single friends kvetch about how alone they are. Tu B’Av is not only singles friendly, but a holiday originally dedicated to pairing people off.
  • Tu B’Av originally involved young women wearing white and dancing in the vineyards. It sounds like the cover of a Stevie Nicks album. You just can’t top that.

So why is Tu B’Av more obscure than, say Tu B’Shvat? There really wasn’t anything to do this erev Tu B’Av. There were a couple of singles events around the city, but the best option was $30 at the door. You can’t put a price on love, but when shopping for potential first dates surely there must be something nice on clearance. I’ve never celebrated Valentine’s Day, always saying I’ll wait until Tu B’Av. Then I usually forget about Tu B’Av until after it’s over.

I turned to my friends. One of my closest friends got engaged over this Tu B’Av, but nearly everyone else that I spoke to sort of sighed forlornly and wished they could celebrate somehow or realized that he hadn’t texted his girlfriend about it.

I say we start a holiday revolt! Down with Cupid! Reclaim Tu B’Av!

Unless I forget about it next year.

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