The national and cultural renewal taking place in the country included the important business of creating a new Hebrew calendar. New events were added to this calendar and the traditional festivals were, to a large degree, imbued with new content derived from the modern Zionist ethos: cultivating the land, Hebrew culture, immigration (aliya), political independence, and so forth. The Labor movement, which played a dominant role in the shaping of pre-State culture, placed special emphasis on work ethics, mutual responsibility and socialism.
The agricultural aspects of the three pilgrim festivals – Pesach, Shavuot and Succot – were stressed, as were the nationalist aspects of the festivals related to the Second Temple – Chanuka, Purim and Lag BaOmer. They were also an opportunity to hold cultural events, making them a primary vehicle of the new Hebrew culture in literature, theater, music and other artistic domains.
The youth movements were very active in shaping the nature of the festivals. Nevertheless, these occasions became an important means of inculcating cultural and social identification in the adult immigrant communities as well.