Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights, is an important Jewish holiday celebrated over eight days each year. On each night of Hanukkah, candles are lit, traditional prayers are said, and festive meals are shared with family and friends. But when is the first night of Hanukkah? The answer depends on the Hebrew calendar year.
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When Is the 1st Night of Hanukkah?
Understanding the Hebrew Calendar
The students of Talmudic Jewish tradition have been arguing about when Hanukkah dates should fall for centuries. The date of Hanukkah is determined by the Jewish calendar, which is reckoned by the phases of the moon combined with a fixed system of leap years. Every night of Hanukkah corresponds to the 25th day of the month of Kislev in the Jewish calendar.
Calculating the 1st Night of Hanukkah
The 1st night of Hanukkah is determined by the waning of the moon. Hanukkah must take place on or after the 25th of Kislev, but because Jewish leap months are added to keep the Jewish calendar in sync with the solar year, Hanukkah can start as late as late December or early January in the Gregorian calendar. This means that the date of Hanukkah can vary from year to year.
Celebrating Hanukkah Cross-Culturally
Although Hanukkah is primarily a Jewish holiday, it is celebrated all over the world. People of many faiths not only join in the festivity of Hanukkah but often find a way to weave their own traditions and beliefs into the fabric of this uniquely meaningful holiday.
In summary, the 1st night of Hanukkah is determined by the waning of the moon in the Hebrew calendar, which can correspond to any time between late November and early January in the Gregorian calendar. Hanukkah celebrates the miracle of the oil lasting eight days when it should have only lasted for one. Celebrating the festival of lights is a time for friends and family to come together for fun, feasting, and prayer.
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Last update 2023-11-27. Price and product availability may change.