Google doodle, in modern Israel this ancient holiday has evolved into a day of love, with many of the trappings of Valentine's Day that we learned from other countries.
But reading a good Chabad article today, I learned that the Talmud lists six joyous events which occurred on this 15th of Av.
Just recently we found an X word for ABC Wednesday:
Josephus (Bellum Judaisum 2:17) refers to Tu B'Av as the Feast of Xylophory ("Wood-bearing") because on that day the cutting of the wood for the main altar in the Temple was completed for the year.
Today I learned this from Chabad:
When the Holy Temple stood in Jerusalem, the annual cutting of firewood for the altar was concluded on the 15th of Av. The event was celebrated with feasting and rejoicing (as is the custom upon the conclusion of a holy endeavor), and included a ceremonial breaking of the axes, which gave the day its name, the Day of the Breaking of the Ax..
. . .
Why break the axes? Why not store them for next year’s cutting? Because the ax represents the very antithesis of what the altar, and the Temple as a whole, stood for.
Regarding the making of the altar, G‑d had instructed: “When you build a stone altar for Me, do not build it of cut stone; for if your sword has been lifted upon it, you have profaned it” (Exodus 20:22). “Do not lift iron upon it . . . The altar of G‑d shall be built of whole stones” (Deuteronomy 27:5–6). If any metal implement so much as touched a stone, that stone was rendered unfit for use in the making of the altar.
Our sages explain: “Iron was created to shorten the life of man, and the altar was created to lengthen the life of man; so it is not fitting that that which shortens should be lifted upon that which lengthens” (Talmud, Middot 3:4). Iron, the instrument of war and destruction, has no place in the making of the instrument whose function is to bring eternal peace and harmony to the world.
From the Chabad website. Based on the teachings of the
Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson; adapted by Yanki Tauber..
See also http://jerusalemhillsdailyphoto.blogspot.co.il/2009/08/dancing-in-vineyards-in-moonlight.html
and for fun look at http://jerusalemhillsdailyphoto.blogspot.co.il/2008/06/woodpile.html
Happy Tu B'Av!
(Linking to Our World Tuesday.)