Second days

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Second days. Additional holy day or days observed by Jews living in the diaspora at the festivals of Passover, Shavuʿot and Sukkot. The need for them arose from the problem of securing the observation of the New Moon, on which the date of the festivals (and subsequent festivals or fasts) depend. When a fixed calendar was introduced in the 4th cent. CE, Jews in Babylon asked the authorities in the land of Israel whether these ‘two festivals of the Exile’ (yom tov sheni shel galuyyot) should be discontinued. They were told that so long-standing a custom should be continued even though the reason for it had disappeared.