Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday that celebrates the rededication of the Second Temple. Each year, beginning on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev, Jews around the world light candles, exchange gifts and relish traditional fried foods. But when does Hanukkah actually start?
When Does Hanukkah Start?
Hanukkah starts on the 25th of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar. In the Hebrew calendar, each month has either 29 or 30 days, and it is based on the cycle of the moon as well as the sun. Kislev is the third month of the Hebrew year. Hanukkah may begin any day of the week, except the Sabbath (Friday evening or Saturday).
Calculating When Hanukkah Starts
To calculate exactly when Hanukkah starts, you must consider two different calendars: the lunar and the civil. The Jewish calendar is a lunisolar calendar, which means that it is based on the cycles of both the moon and the sun. Because the lunar calendar is eleven days shorter than the civil calendar, the date on the lunar calendar creeps backwards eleven days every year. This is why Hanukkah’s date on the civil calendar can never be the same from year to year. To determine the date of Hanukkah, you must look on a Jewish calendar or ask a rabbi to consult the Talmud.
Determining the Length of Hanukkah
- In Israel: Hanukkah traditionally lasts eight days
- In the Diaspora: Danish Jews have the custom of celebrating Hanukkah for seven days, while the rest of the Jewish world celebrates for eight.
To sum up, Hanukkah starts on the 25th day of Kislev and lasts either seven or eight days, depending on the location of the celebrators. The date of Hanukkah can be determined by looking at either a Jewish calendar or consulting a rabbi about the Talmud. This eight-day celebration is full of traditions that include exchanging gifts, lighting candles, and eating fried foods, which make it a vibrant holiday that contributes to the unforgettable spirit of the Jewish people.
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Last update 2023-11-22. Price and product availability may change.