It is a mitzvah to eat all meals in the sukkah (a "meal" is defined as more than two ounces of grains -- e.g. bread, cake, pasta). Some people have the custom of eating snacks in the sukkah as well. Before eating in the sukkah, the following blessing is recited:
ברוך אתה ה‘ אלקינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו לישב בסוכה
Blessed are you, Lord our G‑d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to dwell in the sukkah.
This blessing is made when your meal or snack includes a grain-based food.
It is particularly important to eat at least one k'zayit (approx. 1 oz.) of bread or challah on the first evening of the festival in the sukkah, between nightfall and midnight.
The sukkah commemorates the Clouds of Glory which surrounded and protected our ancestors during the forty-year desert sojourn which followed the Egyptian Exodus. Our willingness to leave the security of our homes and spend eight days in a flimsy outdoor hut demonstrates our faith in G‑d and His benevolence.
Lulav and Etrog Blessings and Ritual Instructions
Shaking the Lulav
It is a mitzvah to wave the lulav on each of the first seven days of Sukkot (unless it is Shabbat). The proper time is in the morning--either before the Morning Service or during the service immediately before the Hallel. On the first morning of Sukkot, enter the Sukkah -- technically this can be done anywhere, but it is preferable to fulfill this Mitzvah while in the sukkah -- and take the palm branch out of the bag and hold in your right hand (unless you're a lefty in which case you hold it in your left hand) with the spine of the lulav facing you. Before the blessing, the etrog is held with its pittum (stemlike protrusion) pointed downward.
The blessing is:
ברוך אתה ה‘ אלקינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו על נטילת לולב
Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha'olam asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu al netilat lulav.
"Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and has commanded us concerning the waving of the lulav."
On the first day of shaking add:
ברוך אתה ה‘ אלקינו מלך העולם שהחינו וקימנו והגיענו לזמן הזה
Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha'olam shehechiyanu v'kiyemanu v'higiyanu lazman hazeh.
"Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has granted us life, sustenance, and permitted us to reach this season."
After the blessing, the etrog is inverted so that the pittum faces up. At this point you wave/shake the lulav (together with the other three) in the following manner:
1. Stand facing east.
2. Hold the lulav out to the east (in front of you) and shake it three times. Each time the motion of shaking should be a drawing in to you--reach and draw in, reach out and draw in, reach out and draw in.
3. Repeat the same motion three times to your right (south), behind over your shoulder (west), to your left (north), raising it up above you, lowering it down below you.
4. It is common practice for all women to shake the Four Species every day of Sukkot.
The Four Species are delicate objects which can become Halachically unacceptable if blemished or injured. Special care must be given to the tips of the lulav and etrog as they are very fragile.