Samaritans gather at dawn to mark the start of Sukkot

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Samaritans gather at dawn to mark the start of Sukkot

A month after Jews celebrated the festival, members of the faith gathered at Mount Gerizim, near Nablus

Michael Daventry is Jewish News’s foreign and broadcast editor

Members of the Samaritan faith gathered at sunrise on Wednesday to mark Sukkot, a month after Jews celebrated the festival.

The Samaritans practice a faith similar to Judaism, complete with Torah scrolls and prayers in a form of ancient Hebrew.

But the different calendar they observe means that this is a leap year and most festivals occur several weeks after their Jewish counterparts.

There are around 800 members of the Samaritan community in northern Israel and the West Bank.

Many gathered early on Wednesday morning to watch the sun rise over Mount Gerizim, next to the Palestinian city of Nablus.

The Samaritan tradition holds that it is Gerizim, and not Mount Zion in Jerusalem, that should be revered.

The pilgrimage is performed every year to commemorate the Exodus of the Israelites from Pharaoh’s Egypt.

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