Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE. The festival is observed by the kindling of the lights of a unique candelabra, the nine-branched Menorah or Hanukiah. One of the most popular festivals of Jewish culture, Hanukkah celebrates freedom, resilience, and mental and spiritual strength. But when does Hanukkah start?
Hanukkah typically begins on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev, usually sometime in late November or early December on the Gregorian calendar. Kislev can have 29 or 30 days, as determined by a complex lunar cycle that determines the Jewish calendar. The date of start of Hanukkah is determined by whichever of the two months, Cheshvan or Kislev, is longer. So, in any given year, it may start as early as 25th November and as late as the 2nd December.
How is Hanukkah Celebrated?
The celebration of Hanukkah begins by lighting a special eight-branched or nine-branched candelabra, called a Menorah or Hanukiah every evening of the holiday, with one additional candle being added from one night to the next. The Menorah or Hanukiah is usually lit by consecrated olive oil and this practice is a reminder of the ancient miracle of the oil that burned for eight days in the Temple in Jerusalem.
Other traditions associated with the celebration include imparting to children the story of the Maccabees’ courage in keeping their faith, children setting fire to paper cutouts of common images such as animals or cars, and adults eating traditional foods such as latkes and sufganiyot. During days and nights of Hanukkah, gatherings of adults and children often sing Hanukkah songs, play party games, and exchange presents.
In conclusion, Hanukkah starts on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev, which usually falls sometime between late November and early December of the Gregorian calendar. The celebration marks the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after a successful revolt of the Jewish people against their oppressors and symbolizes freedom of faith and religious liberty. The festival is typically celebrated by lighting a Menorah or Hanukiah every night, imparting the story of the Maccabees’ courage, and eating traditional foods such as latkes or sufganiyot.
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Last update 2023-11-27. Price and product availability may change.