The annual Jerusalem March will take place this week, as it does every Sukkot holiday, with the participation of local and international delegations, soldiers, dancers, street performers, and just plain folks making the pilgrimage along three separate trails.
According to the Jerusalem municipal website, 60,000 people are expected to participate in the festivities. The march has grown with each successive year since it was established in April, 1955 as a four-day march to Jerusalem for 200 IDF soldiers, joined by 70 civilians. In 1957, the Jerusalem March was turned into a popular event attended by about 5,000 marching soldiers and civilians and by 1966 there were 15,000 marchers.
In 1968, then-IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Mordechai “Motta” Gur reduced the march to three days.
According to Wikipedia (entry in Hebrew), the heavy autumn rains of 1972 dispersed the march soon after it began and, due to budgetary considerations, there was no 1973 march. It was, however decided, that the next march would take place in the fall during Sukkot, rather than the Passover season.
In 1974, the march was re-instituted though reduced to one day only during which the marchers would enter Jerusalem, instead of traversing half the country. In addition, a new format introduced: separate trails of varying degrees of difficulty, making it easier for walkers and hikers of all levels to participate.
From 2003 on, thousands of Christians pilgrims have joined in the Jerusalem March as part of the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem’s Feast of Tabernacles celebration.
This Tuesday, September 24, from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, there will be nature walks and festive events in Sacher Park.
At 3:00 PM, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat will lead the 2013 Jerusalem March down the streets of downtown Jerusalem. The route starts from Sacher Park/Bezalel Street and will go down Hillel and King David streets, ending at the First Station car park. The parade there will feature floats with popular cartoon characters.
Additional to the general march, a competitive march will take place for organized groups.
For more information on the routes, competition, parking and traffic arrangements, visit the Jerusalem municipal website.
Photo credits: Courtesy of Wikipedia, Pikiwiki.org.il, Nostal.co.il, Jerusalem Municipality