Originally published, December 19, 2011 Amended for 2014
When I was young, Tu B'Shvat was celebrated by planting trees in Israel through the Jewish National Fund. And, if you follow the link, you can still plant trees in Israel. When I started dating Molly, and started living a more observant life, Tu B'Shvat was still little more than a service and buying trees in Israel.
Tu B'Shvat is known as the "New Year of the Trees". In Israel, it is how a trees age is measured. "Tu B'Shvat is the new year for the purpose of calculating the age of trees for tithing. The Torah states that fruit from trees which were grown in the land of Israel may not be eaten during the first three years; the fourth year's fruit is for G-d, and after that, the fruit can be eaten. Each tree is considered to have aged one year as of Tu B'Shvat, no matter when in the year it was planted. The New Year of the Trees - Torah.orgIt is customary to eat fruits that grow in Israel for Tu B'Shvat.
Tu B'Shvat has blended nicely into the enviormental movement. There are green and secular as well as religious celebrations of Tu B'Shvat. The Kabbalah teaches that there is a seder for Tu B'Shvat. My father became intrigued with the Tu B'Shvat seder and was working on one when he died. His yartziet is two days before Tu B'Shvat. This would have meant several different books open on the dining room table or in a neat stack with bookmarks and a legal pad. Witting this, I have ten windows open in my browser. The fruit doesn't fall far from the tree.
There are many ways to practice Judisim. There are several Seders availvable.
Kabbalistic Seder - Aish Hatorah Probably the easiest to follow.
Rabbi Scheinerman - Orthodox
The fruits and nuts needed for a TuB'Shvat Seder
|The seven species from Israel|
|wheat and barley (in the form of bread, cake or cereal)|
|nuts with the shells|
|walnuts, almonds, pistachios, coconut|
|fruits with peels|
|oranges, pomegranates, avocado|
|fruits with edible seeds|
|blueberries, strawberries, bananas|
|fruits with inedible pits|
|Wine, both red and white|