The great Jewish Festival of Lights, Hanukkah, is celebrated each year from Kislev 25 (on the Hebrew Calendar). For many, Hanukkah is a time to commemorate the miracle of the oil that is central to the holiday. But when does Hanukkah start time? To answer this question, it helps to understand how the date of Hanukkah is determined and the history behind the holiday.
The Formula for Determining Hanukkah Start Time
The Hebrew calendar is lunisolar, meaning that it follows the waxing and waning of the moon in the nighttime sky in addition to the solar cycle. Hanukkah begins on the 25th day of Kislev, which is the ninth month of the Hebrew calendar year. Depending on the year, it can vary how many days from the Gregorian calendar year that represents. Hanukkah can start as early as November 28th and as late as December 26th.
The History Behind Hanukkah
The origin of Hanukkah starts with the story of the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, during the time of the Maccabean Revolt. At the time, Syrian-Greeks, commonly known as Seleucids, were ruling over Judea and forcing their polytheistic culture on the Jewish population. A small group of Jews, lead by the Maccabees, rose to power and successfully defeated the Seleucid army. Once in control, they rededicated the Second Temple – cleansed it and lit the menorah to recommence services.
When they searched for enough oil to light the menorah for a day, they found a single, small jar. Miraculously, the oil lasted eight days instead of one, thus allowing them to rededicate the temple properly. In commemoration of this miracle, the eight days of Hanukkah were established.
How Hanukkah is Celebrated
Hanukkah is celebrated in a number of ways, depending on the country and customs. In the United States, many families set up a menorah at the window of their homes to symbolize the miracle of the oil. Many also play dreidel and exchange gifts. A traditional Hanukkah food – latkes – are fried up in oil in honor of the miracle.
Hanukkah is a festival that many of the Jewish diaspora celebrate with joy and tradition. When does Hanukkah start time? On the 25th day of Kislev, which can vary from year to year. This festival of lights celebrates the miracle of the oil, and many join together in a communal celebration of this historic occasion.
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Last update 2023-11-22. Price and product availability may change.