The Festival of Lights, or Hanukkah, has been celebrated for centuries as a reminder that miracles can happen and goodness will prevail over evil. Celebrated for eight nights, starting on the 25th day of Kislev on the Jewish calendar, each night brings a different kind of celebration. But when the festive days come to an end, the big question is: what time does Hanukkah end?
When Does Hanukkah End?
Hanukkah officially ends after eight days of candle-lighting and other rituals. On the last day, a family might participate in the traditional dinner of latkes and jelly doughnuts, called sufganiyot, and exchange gifts. But the actual date of the end of Hanukkah will vary each year. This is based on the Hebrew calendar, which is determined according to the date of the new moon. As a result, Hanukkah has no set date and will typically start on the same Gregorian date in November or December each year.
One of the key rituals of Hanukkah is lighting the menorah, which is a special nine-branched candelabra. Traditionally, a new candle is lit on the menorah each night, until all eight are lit. Then, on the last day, the menorah is lit using all nine branches. The ninth candle is called the shamash, which is used to light the other eight. The shamash is often placed up higher than the other candles.
Timing of Menorah Lighting
The timing of when the menorah should be lit is a point of disagreement in the Jewish community. According to some rabbis, menorah lighting should happen after nightfall, which is recognized by the appearance of three stars in the sky. According to others, as long as it is still light outside, the menorah can be lit. The general rule is that the menorah should be lit at night:
- In the Northern Hemisphere, the menorah should be lit after sunset (as this is usually when three stars appear).
- In the Southern Hemisphere, the menorah should be lit before sunset (as this is usually when three stars appear).
Although the menorah is lit at night, the traditional Hanukkah prayer is usually said sometime between midday and nightfall, in recognition of the dedication of the holy Temple.
So, when does Hanukkah end? It varies annually, depending on the Gregorian and Hebrew calendars. But each night of Hanukkah is celebrated with joyful festivities that commemorate a miracle and remind us all of the importance of faith.
When it is time to celebrate, the menorah should be lit at night in the Northern Hemisphere and before sunset in the Southern Hemisphere. After the final candle is lit, the festival of Hanukkah ends and another year has passed.
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Last update 2023-11-27. Price and product availability may change.