Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is an important holiday on the Jewish calendar. Every year, it is celebrated for eight days, usually towards the end of December or beginning of January. The key question for many people every year is – when does Hanukkah actually begin?
The date of Hanukkah is based on the Hebrew calendar, and each year the start date falls on the 25th of the Hebrew Month of Kislev. In a normal year this would be the equivalent of December, but in a leap year like 2021 it will take place in January. Generally, if the 25th of Kislev falls between sunset on December 23 and nightfall on December 30, Hanukkah begins in December. However, if the 25th of Kislev falls between sunset on December 30 and nightfall on January 6 the eight days of Hanukkah occurs in January.
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Calculating Hanukkah Start Date
The date of the start of Hanukkah is determined by the traditional Hebrew calendar, which relies on the lunar cycle and is slightly different from the Gregorian calendar, which is based on the solar cycle. To calculate when Hanukkah will begin, you must therefore also take into account the difference in length of the two calendars.
Hebrew vs Gregorian Calendar
The Hebrew calendar contains 12 months of either 29 or 30 days, totaling to 353, 354, or 355 days. In comparison, the Gregorian calendar contains either 28, 29, 30, or 31 days, totaling to 365 or 366 days. Therefore, the Gregorian year is 11 days longer than the Hebrew year. This means that the date of Hanukkah can vary from year to year, and that the Hebrew date of Kislev 25 is not always the same as the date on the Gregorian calendar.
When Does Hanukkah Start?
Ultimately, Hanukkah usually starts on the 25th of Kislev, which comes out to a different day on the Gregorian calendar each year. In 2021 for example, the 25th of Kislev will be on December 1, making Hanukkah start on December 14. But in other years, Hanukkah can start in December or even January.
How to Celebrate Hanukkah?
When Hanukkah does start, it is a time for rejoicing, as it commemorates the rededication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem after a group of fighters, known as the Maccabees, succeeded in over powering the Greek-Syrians who had taken control of the Temple. The Maccabees then lit a menorah that should have burned for only one day but instead burned for 8 days. And so, ever since, the eight-day period of Hanukkah has been celebrated with lighting of the menorah and other traditional customs and activities.
Hanukkah is a special time for many Jews and is observed with much joy and enthusiasm. This year, it will begin on the evening of Tuesday, December 14, 2021 and will end 8 days later after sunset on Wednesday, December 22. But regardless of when it falls, it is a wonderful time to celebrate the gift of the freedom that the Maccabees earned and the miracle of the oil they were able to light the menorah with. Celebrating this special holiday with friends and family will always be a meaningful and joyful experience.
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- What Determines The Date Of Hanukkah?
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- What Time Hanukkah Start?
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- Why Does The Date Of Hanukkah Change Every Year?
- How Is Hanukkah Date Determined?
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Last update 2023-11-22. Price and product availability may change.