A sukkah is a temporary dwelling built during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. ("Sukkot" is the plural form of the Hebrew word "sukkah.") The sukkah hearkens back to times in ancient Israel when Jews would build huts near the edges of their fields during the harvest season. These dwellings not only provided shade but allowed the workers to maximize the amount of time they spent in the fields, harvesting their food more quickly as a result. The sukkah is also said to represent the temporary shelters in which the Jewish people lived while wandering in the desert for 40 years (Leviticus 23:42-43).
A sukkah usually has at least two and a half sides, which can be constructed of any material so long as the sides are secure and don't flap in the wind. The roof must be made of natural, unprocessed materials that have grown in the ground - such as tree branches, bamboo poles or even wood that's been shaped into planks. In addition, the roof should be left open so that people inside the sukkah can see the sky. The sukkah is often decorated with autumn fruit and vegetables, which are tied to strings and then hung around the sukkah.
During Sukkot it is traditional to eat at least one meal in the sukkah. Many people will try to eat in the sukkah more often though, especially if they have children who can revel in the novelty of eating outdoors.
Although some people build a sukkah in their yards, in modern times it is more common for synagogues to build a sukkah for the community to enjoy.