Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, is a joyous celebration that is celebrated for 8 days. During this time, the rules of kashrut (Jewish dietary laws) are kept intact while festivities are celebrated. But, how is the exact date of Hanukkah determined?
Calculating The Date Of Hanukkah
The Hebrew calendar was created in partnership with the cycle of the Moon, and it consists of 12 months, but only 354 days with an additional leap month. As a result, the total number of days in the Jewish year is 355 days, or 12 months plus an extra month every few years. This calendar was developed to ensure that Shabbat, the holiest day of the week in Judaism, is observed on Saturdays and that Jewish holidays and festivals always occur at their appropriate times.
When determining the date of Hanukkah each year, the following steps are taken:
- 1. Calculate the Molad – The molad is a meteorological event that is calculated based on the conjunction of the sun, moon, and Earth. It is used to determine the Jewish New Year, which is celebrated on the first day of the seventh month of the Jewish year, Tishrei.
- 2. Determine if the Year is a Lep Year – A leap year is added to the Hebrew calendar every few years so that the holidays will occur at the proper times of year. Every leap year has 13 months, and the extra month is placed between the months of Kislev and Tevet.
- 3. Figure out the Day of the Week – Once the molad is determined and the decision has been made as to whether or not the year is a leap year, the day of the week that Hanukkah will occur on can be determined.
- 4. Calculate the Date of Hanukkah – Once the day of the week is determined, the date can be calculated. Hanukkah is always celebrated on the 25th day of Kislev so when the day of the week is figured out, the corresponding date on the secular calendar can be determined.
The dates for Hanukkah are determined using a combination of factors, based off of the Jewish calendar. This ensures that the holiday will always occur at the same time on the secular calendar each year, with the exact date derived from the molad to determine if the year is a leap year and the day of the week that the 25th of Kislev will fall.
By following the same pattern year after year, Hanukkah is celebrated at the perfect time on the secular calendar to commemorate this special holiday and its custom and traditions.
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Last update 2023-11-26. Price and product availability may change.