Shavuot has its origins in the
ancient mid-summer harvest
celebrations of the
Canaanites, the ancient
people from which Israelite
society sprang during the
Bronze Age. These early
religions’ celebrations, in
which revelers rejoiced in
the harvesting of wheat, were local affairs probably celebrated in communal threshing grounds,
where the wheat was separated from the chaff, and other cultic sites.
All that started to change in the 7th and 8th centuries BCE, when the Jerusalem monarchs and
priesthood consolidated power, bringing formerly separate tribes under the helm of one ruler.
As part of this program, they co-opted these local affairs and supplanted them by unified rites
that could only be performed in the Temple in Jerusalem…