Tu BiShvat, called the "New Year of the Trees," falls at a seemingly incongruous time of year.
Tu BiShvat is a minor festival whose provenance dates only to the time of the Second Temple. However, the kabbalists who clustered around the great fifteenth-century mystic Isaac Luria of Safed placed great weight on the holiday, creating new festivities, gatherings at which hymns were sung, fruit (particularly carob) was eaten, and four cups of wine were taken (as in the Passover seder).
This is not your traditional applesauce. For one, it calls for pears. And second, this fruit concoction is cooked in a good amount of honey. It takes just a few minutes to prepare. Serve it warm or cold, latkes or as a stand-alone side dish.
“We kindle these lights to commemorate the miracles and the wonders”
הנרות הללו אנו מדליקין על הניסים והנפלאות
I am, and have always been, Jewish, but I was raised in a household with a father who was secularly Christian. We “celebrated” Christmas and Easter, but never went to church. We put up a tree but did not speak of Jesus. We colored eggs but did not discuss resurrections.