Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish religious holiday celebrated all over the world. It is observed on the 25th day of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar. Celebrations include the lighting of a nine-branched menorah, the exchange of gifts, traditional meals such as latkes and sufganiyot, and the spinning of a dreidel.
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The Jewish Calendar
The Jewish calendar is based on lunar cycles, therefore, its dates do not align with the Gregorian calendar year, or our standard calendar year. Because of this, the date of any Jewish holiday has the potential to change each year. The first day of the Jewish month, also known as Rosh Chodesh, can start on different days of the week. This is why Hanukkah can start on a different day each year.
The Computing System
The calculation of the Hebrew calendar is complex and uses a predetermined computing system. The Hebrew calendar is based off the Metonic Cycle, which is a very precise astronomical cycle, that was discovered over 2,300 years ago. It takes the Moon’s motion in the night sky and divides it into 19-year cycles, with seven leap years that have an extra month. This ensures that the festivals are in the same season year by year.
Calculating the Date
The calculation of the date of holidays according to the Hebrew calendar is based off of the halakhah (Jewish religious law), which states that any holiday starts at sunset. Furthermore, a fast day starts the evening before. In order to obtain the exact date according to these laws, astronomers use mathematical formulas and astronomical tables to determine the start of these holidays.
Significance of Hanukkah
Hanukkah celebrates the re-dedication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. According to the Talmud, in the year 165 BCE, Antiochus IV of Syria attempted to suppress the Jewish religion and prevent the practice of Judaism. Eventually, Jewish revolutionaries, known as Maccabees, were able to take back the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and reclaim it for Judaism. This event is celebrated yearly for 8 days, and includes many traditions and celebration activities.
Hanukkah is one of the major holidays of the Jewish faith, and it is celebrated by Jews around the world with joyous festivities. Regardless of location, Hanukkah is always observed on the 25th of Kislev each year. Despite the variability of the Festival of Lights in the Gregorian calendar, it always marks the end of fall and the beginning of the winter season according to the Jewish calendar. Whether lighting the Menorah, exchanging gifts, or playing the timeless game of dreidel, Hanukkah, is a holiday that brings peace, light and joy to Jews everywhere.
- When Is Hanukkah Celebrated This Year?
- When Is Hanukkah Celebrated Every Year?
- What Determines When Hanukkah Is Celebrated?
- When Is Hanukkah Each Year?
- When Is Hanukkah Usually Celebrated?
- When Is Hanukkah Next Year?
- What Hebrew Month Is Hanukkah Celebrated?
- When Is Hanukkah Every Year?
- Why Is Hanukkah Celebrated On Different Days?
- Why Is Hanukkah Different Days Each Year?
- What Day Is Hanukkah This Year?
- What Month Is Hanukkah Celebrated?
- Why Is Hanukkah So Late This Year?
- What Is The Date Of Hanukkah This Year?
- Why Is Hanukkah On Different Days Every Year?
Last update 2023-11-27. Price and product availability may change.