Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah complete series of autumn Jewish holidays. The Torah says that on the eighth day of Sukkot is a separate, independent holiday. Its name indicates that on the eighth day (Shemini) someone detained (Atzeret). Who was detained and why? Lead such an example. The king asked his children to seven day feast. When it came time parting, the king said, "Children, I want to appeal to you with request. Please, stay for one more day. " And in the Torah says: "On the eighth day you shall have a holiday."
Sages decreed that this day - Shemini Atzeret - the Jews will end the annual cycle of Torah reading and start reading it from the beginning. So in Shemini Atzeret entered another element - Simchat Torah - the holiday [complete read cycle] Torah. Simchat Torah means - Joy of the Torah. The Torah consists of five books of the 54 "chapters weekly," read all year. On that day in the synagogue is completed and starts again the annual cycle of reading.
Start reading on Shemini Atzeret and end on Shemini Atzeret. And so all the community is doing for almost two thousand years (before that Jews read and study Torah on a different system). In the days of the Temple in the eighth day was a ceremony libation of water on the altar, accompanied by a request for the gifting of rain in the coming year. Today, starting with Shemini Atzeret, in synagogues during the winter also read a prayer for rain. In this double celebration everywhere prevail joy and merriment.
Shemini Atzeret evening, in synagogues arrange Hakafot: a ceremony procession with the Torah scrolls around the bima - the rise in the center of the synagogue, on which is usually read the Torah. Hakafot accompanied by singing, dancing and general exultation, which the Jews express the faith and love of the Creator of life. These minutes - one of the brightest in the life of every Jew.