Hanukkah, a festival of lights, joy and delicious treats, comes around every year. Each December, families and friends gather together to light the menorah, exchange gifts, feast, and spin dreidels in celebration. One of the biggest questions people ask is, “How much time do I have until Hanukkah starts?”
When is Hanukkah?
The festival of Hanukkah takes place during the Hebrew month of Kislev (usually late November or early December of the Gregorian calendar). The dates for the festival change every year due to the annual lunar cycle. The actual celebration usually begins on the 25th of Kislev, though it carries with it eight days of additional celebration and festivities.
What is Kislev?
Kislev is the 9th month of the Hebrew calendar. As a lunar system, the dates for Kislev and its festivals change each year. It is specifically highlighted for the celebration of Hanukkah and the miraculous events that took place.
Calculating How Much Time Is Left
Unlike calculations for other holidays that include a specific Julian or Gregorian date, calculating until Hanukkah includes a few extra steps, given its departure from traditional calendars. Since the date for Hanukkah falls on the 25th day of Kislev, one must first calculate the date for Kislev.
The three main things to keep in mind when calculating are:
- The Jewish Calendar is Lunar-Based – This means that each month starts based on the sighting of the New Moon. The actual date for Kislev, as well as the eventual date for Hanukkah, will move each year.
- Yom Kippur is a Major Factor – This special holiday often falls during the month of Kislev and will mean that Kislev will have fewer days. For example, sometimes Yom Kippur will fall on the 29th/30th day of the month, shortening the amount of days in the month.
- Kislev May Have Either 29 or 30 Days – Depending on the sighting of the New Moon in a given year, Kislev may have either 29 or 30 days. This will mean the date of Hanukkah will also move accordingly.
Given all these details, you can calculate how many days are left until Hanukkah. As a general rule of thumb, though, if you’re curious as to when Hanukkah will begin this year, it usually starts on the 25th of Kislev. This year, it will begin on the 10th of December.
Hanukkah is an exciting time of year for both Jews and non-Jews alike and is celebrated with joyous festivities each year. It is also an important celebration as it commemorates the momentous event that occurred in Jerusalem over 2000 years ago. Knowing the date ahead of time is essential to getting an early start on your Hanukkah preparations. Knowing exactly how much time to spend preparing will also help make the process easier and much more enjoyable.
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Last update 2023-11-22. Price and product availability may change.